CHRIST! REGIS 8J.
LETTER TO A PROTESTANT CLERGYMAN.
APPEAL TO THE PROTESTANT PUBLIC
BY THIOIEV. DEMETRIUS A. GALLITZIN.
BOtCCHRlSTI REGIS S.T.
Corrected and Enlarged with the permission of the Author.
THE CATHOLIC PUBLICATION SOCIETY.
ENTERED according to the Ar.t of Congress, in tne yew
1837, by F. LUCAS, JR. in tne uierK s Office of the Dis
trict Ccurt of Maryland-
Preface, ... 5
A Defence, &c. . 7
ARTICLE I. A Summary of the Catholic Doctrine, 1?.
ART. II. Confession, . , /ifi
ART. III. The Eucharist or Lord s Supper, 56
ART. IV. The Sacrifice of the Mass, 84
ART. V Communion under one Kind or Form, 92
ART. VI. Purgatory and Prayers for the Dead, 98
ART. VII. Honouring the Saints, and applying to
their Intercession, . 112
ART. VIII. Images, Pictures and Relics, 129
ART. IX. The Pope, . .. . 140
ART. X. Toleration, . 158
Conclusion, . . . 169
An Appeal to the Protestant Public, 184
A SERMON preached by a Protestant minister on
a day appointed by government for humiliation
and prayer, in order to avert from our beloved
country the calamity of war, was the occasion of
the present letter.
The professed subject of this sermon on such a
day, was, or should have been, to excite his hear
ers to humility and contrition, and to a perfect
union of hearts and exertions, during the impend
ing storm ; but he, very likely alarmed at a much
greater danger, of which nobody else but himself
dreamed; alarmed I mean, and trembling for the
ark of Israel, likely to be carried off by those
Philistines, called Roman Catholics; or alarmed,
perhaps, at the very probable danger of an intended
invasion from the pope, who would, to be sure,
avail himself of the confused state of the country,
to assist his English friends in the conquest of it,
that he might by that means, extend his jurisdic
tion ; or, in fine, alarmed, perhaps, lest our treach
erous Catholics would take advantage of the times,
and by forming a new gunpowder plot, blow up
the congress hall, state houses, and all the Protes
tant meeting houses of the United States ; alarmed
at least, by something or other, he suddenly forgets
.his subject, and putting on a grave countenance,
niters the most solemn caveat against his popish
and heathen neighbours, cautions his hearers against
their superstitions, and gives them plainly enough
to understand, that such popish neighbours are not
to be considered their fellow-citizens.
It is no small source of astonishment to see in
a country so liberal, polished, and enlightened as
the United States of America, a continuation of
violent attacks, unjust prejudices, and foul calum
nies against the Roman Catholic Church. As at
tacks of this kind are so very common, and gene
rally proceed too evidently from ignorance or
impotent rancour, to merit attention, I have always
treated them hitherto with silent contempt the
present one 1 have thought necessary to notice,
both as it proceeded from a respectable quarter,
and as I judged that silence, if invariably observed,
would be construed by many into an admission of
the charges alleged against us. 1 expected, at first,
that a few respectful lines, which I published in a
gazette, would have been sufficient to draw from
the gentleman an apology for his uncharitable ex
pressions. I found myself deceived in my expec
tation. After having waited in vain from Septem
ber, until some time in the winter, I made up my
<mind to send the gentleman the following Defence
of Catholic principles,
A DEFENCE, &c.
AFTER your unprovoked attack upon the
whole body of Roman Catholics, it was expected
that an apology for the same would have been
considered by you as due to them. To exhibit
above one hundred and fifty millions of Catholics,*
* The number of one hundred and fii ty millions will not
appear exaggerated to any one who considers, that Italy
contains nearly twenty millions of Catholics ; France, up
wards of thirty millions; that Spain, Portugal, Austria,
Bohemia, Hungary, Belgium, Ireland, Poland, South
America, and some parts of North America, viz: Cuba,
Mexico, Lower Canada, &c. are inhabited almost exclu
sively by Catholics ; that they are numerous in the United
States, and still more so in the Protestant kingdoms ol
Europe, ibr instance, five millions in the dominions ol the
king of Prussia; that there are flourishing churches and
missions in Turkey, throughout the vast continents i>f
Asia and Africa, in the islands of the Pacific and th.-
Southern Ocean; that the Phillippirie Islands contain two
millions, and the diocess of Goa alone, nearly half a mil
lion of Catholics. From these and other facts, we aie
inclined to believe that the total number above mentioned,
instead of being overrated, might, on the contrary, be raise"
to one hundred and seventy, or perhaps, one hundred and
NOTE. This was written near!., llfty years ago.
O A DEFENCE OF CA1HOLIC PRINCIPLE?.
who undoubtedly constitute the most numerous
and imposing Christian society in existence, as
standing upon a level with heathens, to represent
the whole of ihem as a superstitious set, wander
ing in the paths of darkness, and finally, to exclude
the Catholics of the United States from their rank
of citizens, cannot be considered by you as a tri
fling insult. Now, sir, as a gentleman, you cannot
be ignorant of the common principles of civility.
As a Christian, and especially as a teacher of the
Christian religion, you cannot be ignorant of that
great precept of Christian charity, which our blessed
Saviour declares to be the very soul of religion.
on which depend the whole law and the prophets,
Matt. xxii. 40. Wishing to act under the influence
of those principles, I shall, according to the direc
tion of our common Saviour, (Matt. v. 44,) return
you good for evil, and pray God to bless you,
whilst you are persecuting and calumniating us.
And, though your alleged charges, it is true, de
stroy themselves, and their falsehood must be evi
dent to any one who is even slightly acquainted
with Catholic doctrines; nay, every reflecting mind
should thence infer the weakness of that cause
which stands in need of such aid for its support;*
* It is an observation, says Count de Maistrc, which I
recommend to the attention of all those who think and rea
son : truth, when it combats error, is never ans;ry. Amidst
the immense number of our controversial work.", it require;*
A DEFENCE OF CATHOLIC PRIA CIFLLS.
yet, as you refuse us (what we think we are justlv
entitled to) an apology, and as such charges con
tinue to be repeated, I have deemed it expedient to
give you and the public an explanation of our
tenets, in order to convince every candid mind,
that we are not guilty of superstition.
With respect to the personal insult reflected on
us from the odious colours in which we and our
doctrines are exhibited, it excites in us rather com
passion than anger. Our only wish is that our
separated brethren may be enabled by the light of
God to know the truth, and having known it, by
his special assistance to embrace and follow it.
If, instead of accusing us in a general manner,
you had been pleased to state distinctly in what
a microscopic eye to discover one single effusion of anger,
which might escape from human weakness. Such men as
Bellarmine, Bossuet, Borgier, &.c. were able to dispute all
their life, without suffering themselves to use, I do not say
the slightest insult, but even the slightest personality. This
character the Protestant writers possess in common with
the Catholic, whenever they combat incredulity. The
reason of it is, because, in this case, it is the Christian that
is combatting the Deist, the Materialist, and the Atheist ;
and therefore, it is still truth refuting error. But, now,
let these men only turn their arms against the church u!
Koine, behold, every thing at once is altered ; they insult
her with the grossest violence. And why? Because error
is never calm, when it combats against truth. This two
fold characteristic is visible every where, as also it is every
whftie decisive. There are few demonstrations which
conscience sees more clearlv.
10 A DEFENCE OF CATHOLIC PRINCIPLES.
particular points we are guilty of superstition, a
great deal of time would have been saved, as ray
defence would be confined to those particular
points of attack; but now, not knowing those
against which the attack is intended, I must be
ready at all points,
In order to ascertain whether we are or not
guilty of superstition, it will be necessary, in the
first place, to give a distinct definition of the word
superstition. Many disputes originate altogether
in the misunderstanding of words, and might be
entirely avoided, by first agreeing about the mean
ing of those words.
Such as have treated of superstition, give the
following definition of it, which every one will
readily grant to be correct : Superstition is an in
ordinate worship of the true or of a false divinity
To accuse us of superstition, then, is to say,
that we either worship the true God in an ordi-
nate manner, or that we worship false gods, or
that we are guilty of both.
To which of the tenets of the Catholic Church
does any of these three modes of superstition
I reply boldly, to none ; and in order t
vince you and your hearers that I am justified in
saying so, I shall give you a short sketch of our
Catholic principles; but do not expect to find,
maintained by them, those pretended Catholic
A DEFENCE OF CATHOLIC PRINCIPLES 1J
principles which ignorance, prejudice, and I am
apprehensive, sometimes malice and ill-will, falsely
attribute to Catholics. Thus I shall say nothing
of the pope s power to grant licenses to commit
sin, or dispensations from the oath of allegiance,
about the worship of saints, and many other arti
cles falsely attributed to Roman Catholics, and
which (I have too much reason to believe) are
industriously propagated to answer certain selfish
and iniquitous purposes.
May the great God give me grace to display be
fore your eyes and those of the public, the beauties
and perfections of the Catholic church, that in her
you may behold the true and immaculate spouse
of Jesus Christ, Ephes. v. 31, 32; ever subject
and ever faithful to him, 24; ever loved and che
rished by him, 25; that in her you may behold
the kingdom of which Jesus Christ is the king,
Luke i. 32 ; the sheepfold of which Jesus Christ
is the shepherd, John x. 16; the house of the
living God, 1 Tim. iii. 15 ; the pillar and ground
of the truth, ibid ; always one, John x. 16,
Ephes. iv. 4, 5; always visible, Matt. v. 14; un
conquerable by the united efforts of hell and earth,
Matt. xvi. 18 ; that none may fall under the sen
tence pronounced by St. Peter II. ii. 12, these men,
blaspheming what they know not, shall perish ;
and by St. Jude 10, these men blaspheme what
they krow not. Woe to them, &c. On the con-
12 A DEFENCE OF JATHOLIC PRINCIPLES
trary, that all may feel themselves compelled to
exclaim with Balaam, How beautiful are thy taber
nacles, O Jacob; and thy tents, O Israel, Num
A SUMMARY OF THE CATHOIIC DOCTRINE.
WE believe, dear sir, that. Almighty God is per
fect in himself, and perfect in all his works. After
creating the world and all that it contains, God
saw all the things that he had made, and they
were very good, Gen. i. 31. By the help of
natural philosophy, anatomy, astronomy and other
sciences, many of the beauties and perfections of
nature, have been discovered, which give us the
most exalted idea of the power and wisdom of
their Creator ; many more, however, are, and will
remain wrapt up in mystery, and are thereby the
better calculated to give us some, though faint
idea, of the immensity of God. From the disco
veries which have been made, we are struck with
astonishment at the wonderful harmony displayed
in the whole system of nature, and in every part
of it. The progressive development of our facul
ties, the gradual, though slow advancement of
knowledge, have enabled us to penetrate into ;i
few of the secrets of rature. Every discovery
A DEFENCE OF CATHOLIC PRINCIPLES. 13
has paved the way to new ones, and were the
world to last millions of years, we should still
discover more, and yet be obliged to own that we
have scarcely obtained one drop out of an ocean.
This world, sir, which we so much admire, will
pass away, notwithstanding all its beauties and
perfections. It was created, we believe, for the
use of man during his mortal life, to afford him a
comfortable and happy existence. But, sir, man
is not created for this visible world alone; his body
was formed of clay, and his soul, his immortal
soul, is the image of God, the breath of the most
high : And the Lord God breathed into his face
the breath of life, and man became a living soul,
Gen. ii. 7. We believe that the soul of man was
created for everlasting happiness, and that created
to the image of God, we are to rest for ever in the
bosom of God. With St. Augustine w r e exclaim,
Thou hast made us for thyself, O Lord, and our
hearts are restless until they repose in thee.
We believe that, although created to the image
of God, we may defile in ourselves that imape,
and thus remove ourselves from our original des
tination. We believe we shall attain the objects
of our destination, only if we try to preserve in
ourselves that image undefiled or in other words
if we try to be and to become more and more
similar to our Creator ; be perfect (says our Sn-
viour) as also your heavenly Father is perfect,
11 A DEFENCE OF CATHOLIC PRINCIPLES.
Matt v. 48. We believe then, that in order to
become ripe for heaven, we must try to keep our
selves pure and undented, shew the most perfect
obedience to our Creator, the most perfect submis
sion of our hearts and understandings, practice
humility, chastity, justice, and above all, the most
perfect charity; that is, we must love God above
all things, and our neighbour as ourselves. The
will of God must always be the only rule of our
conduct, we must love what he loves, hate what
he hates, and with due proportion, do as he does ;
consequently, we must consider sin as the greatest
of all evils, and be willing to sacrifice even life
itself, rather than offend our Creator, by a wilful
transgression of his commandments. As Almighty
God is infinitely just, infinitely good to all men,
even to the worst of men, so must we be strictly
just and charitable to all men, even to our ene
mies, without distinction of believer or unbelievei
Christian or Jew, or Mahometan, or Heathen, &c.
In short, sir, we believe that, in order to become
saints in heaven, we must lead a holy life upon
earth, and that all the external acts of religion
which we practice, can never afford a substitute
for a holy and virtuous life. We hear taught from
all the Catholic pulpits in the world, and believe,
that confidence in external acts of religion, unsup
ported and unaccompanied by the practice of vir
tue, is a most abominable presumption and real
A DEFENCE OF CATHOLIC PRINCIPLES. If)
To convince you, sir, that such is the real belief
of Catholics, I refer you to all Catholic catechisms,
prayer-books, meditations, sermons, in short, to all
the spiritual books of any kind that ever were
published in any part of the Catholic world. Being
provided with books of that kind from almost every
Catholic country in Europe, I readily offer them to
the inspection of any person curious to ascertain
the doctrine of Catholics on so important a sub
ject, Dii which misrepresentation has created so
many prejudices. What is more common, indeed,
than to hear it said that a Catholic, or if you
choose, a Papist, puts so much confidence in his
priest, that it matters little to him whether he com
mits sin or not; for after having broken all the
commandments of God, he thinks he has nothing
to do but to confess his sins to the priest, and be
hold, from the gulf of perdition, he leaps at once
into paradise !
Catholics, then, among whom there are thou
sands and thousands of men eminent for their
genius and learning, men of the most transcendant
talents, celebrated in all the different branches of
literature, and what is much better, famed for the
most genuine, the most heroic virtue ; Catholics
then, I say, are believed, or at least represented, to
be most brutally stupid ! But let us proceed.
We believe that man, originally created to the
image of God, has in a great measure denied that
16 A DEFENCE OF CATHOLIC PRINCIPLES.
sacred image, by tasting the forbidden fruit. \W
believe that, in consequence of that sin which we
call original sin, man fell under the curse 01 God,
was not only driven out of the earthly paradise,
but what is infinitely worse, forfeited his right and
title to the happiness of heaven ; and we believe
that it was not in the power of man, to offer to
the irritated justice of God, a satisfaction adequate
to the offence. As the malice and iniquity of an
offence must in a great measure be determined by
the degree of dignity and elevation of the being to
whom the offence is given, God being infinite in
power, dignity, and perfection, the offence must be
in some measure, infinite in its malice. Man, on
the other hand, being limited, can have nothing to
offer by way of reparation or satisfaction, but
what is limited in its value, and of course, not
adequate as a satisfaction. The wrath and the
justice of God demanded a victim; all mankind
must be sacrificed, must suffer, and their sufferings
must be infinite, which they cannot be, unless they
last forever, or a being equal to the offended Crea
tor, must step forward and pay the ransom. As
every act of an Infinite Being, is of infinite value,
one word, one sigh, from such a Being, would be
an adequate satisfaction. Here then, is the pivot
upon which turns the whole Christian religion, with
all its profound mysteries. Mankind being doomed
to eternal torments, and not being able to satisfy
A DEFENCE OF CATHOLIC PRINCIPLES. 17
God s infinite justice, within any limited period,
Jesus Christ, the Son of God, equal to his Father,
burning with zeal for his glory, and with love for
man, offers himself as the victim of God s infinite
justice. The ransom is accepted, and a new
chance of heaven is offered to man.
The main point to be explained now, is. in what
manner we believe that Jesus Christ has accom
plished the redemption of man. This will, oi
course, exhibit all that Catholics believe of the
church of Christ, of the Christian religion, and of
all its mysteries.
We believe that Jesus Christ, in order to become
a victim of propitiation for our sins, assumed hu
man nature, which being united to his Divine
nature, formed one person. As God he could not
suffer ; but by becoming a real man, assuming a
real human soul, and a real human body, he made
himself liable to sufferings, and by being God, his
sufferings became of infinite value, and of course,
adequate as a satisfaction.
We believe that Jesus Christ was conceived in
the womb of the spotless virgin Mary, by the power
and operation of the Holy Ghost, Luc. i. 35.
We believe that Jesus Christ, immolating him-
sdf for our sins, acted in the capacity of a priest,
a priest being the minister of a sacrifice; we be
lieve that he is both high priest and victim, Heb
v. 7, 8, 9, 10.
18 A DEFENCE OF CATHOLIC PRINCIPLES.
Mankind having fallen by original sin, into a
wonderful state of depravity, the light of their
leason, being almost extinguished, their under
standing perverted, (witness the many ridiculous
and abominable systems taught by their wise men
and philosophers,) their hearts corrupted and given
up a prey to all the passions, Jesus Christ came
not only to satisfy, for our sins, and by that means
to open for us the gates of heaven, but he also
came to shew both by word and example, what
means we must take in order to obtain heaven.
We believe that in Jesus Christ we have a per
fect example and pattern of a holy life, and an
infallible teacher of salvation.
We believe that in the gospels is recorded a
part, though a very small part, of what Christ did
and preached during his visible existence on earth,
John xxi. 25.
We believe the authors of these gospels to have
been inspired by the Holy Ghost, and therefore,
we believe every word contained in them, as pro
ceeding from the fountain of truth.
As we believe the gospel of Christ to be a
divine book, so we believe that none but a divine
authority can expound it. We shudder at the idea
of bringing that divine book before the tribunal of
limited and corrupted reason, and we candidly
confess that although we were provided with a
greater share of M isdom and knowledge than Solo
A DEFENCE OF CATHOLIC PRINCIPLES 19
mon possessed, we should still be unequal of our
selves to the task of understanding and explaining
the gospel, or other parts of Holy Writ. In this
we are confirmed by St. Peter, who says that t no
prophecy of the Scripture is made by private in
terpretation, 2 Peter, i. 20.
As we believe that Holy Scripture is the word
of God, so we believe that Holy Scripture misin
terpreted, is not the word of God, but the word
of corrupted man ; and that Scripture is often mis
interpreted, we are obliged to believe from the
assertion of St. Peter, who tells us that the un
learned and unstable wrest the Scriptures to their
own perdition, 2 Peter, iii. 16 ; and likewise
from our own observations : for as common sense
tells us that the Holy Ghost cannot be the authoi
of contradictory doctrines, so it tells us of course,
that numbers of doctrines preached pretendedly
from Scripture, must be false, as they stand in con
tradiction to other doctrines drawn from the same
We believe that true faith is indispensably neces
sary to salvation.
He that believeth not, shall be condemned,
Mark xvi. 16 ; and, without faith, it is impossible
to please God, Heb. xi. 6.
We believe that Jesus Christ, requiring faith as
necessary to salvation, must have provided us with
adequate means to obtain faith, that is, to believe
A DEFENCE OF CATHOLIC PRINCIPLES
without doubting all those things, which he has
taught and instituted as necessary for salvation. If
Jesus Christ has not provided us with such means,
he must be a tyrant indeed ; as he would require
of us what we could not otherwise possibly per
We believe that Jesus Christ has established
the holy Catholic Church for the above purpose,
namely, as the supreme tribunal to regulate our
faith, or in other words, to keep the precious de-
posite of revelation unaltered, to explain to us
( without any possibility of error) the meaning of
every part of Holy Writ necessary to salvatior
and likewise to preserve and transmit to posterity
undefiled, all that part of Christ s divine doctrine,
which was delivered only by word of mouth,
either b) Christ or by his Apostles, according to
ihese words of St. Paul, therefore, brethren, stand
firm, and hold the traditions which you have
learned, whether by word, or by our epistle, 2
Thess. ii. 14. We believe that the unwritten
Word of God, transmitted to us by tradition, is
entitled to tne very same respect as the written
We think it absurd to assert, that Jesus Christ
has taught or preached nothing essential, but what
is written in the few pages of the gospel. We do
not find in the gospel, the instructions which Jesus
Christ gave his Apostles, during the forty days thai
A DEFENCE OF CATHOLIC PRINCIPLES. 21
he appeared to them after his resurrection ; and
yet it is beyond all doubt, that Jesus Christ during
these forty days, the last days he spent with his
Apostles, instructed them particularly in the mys
teries of his kingdom, or of his church, Acts i. 3.
These last instructions which Jesus Christ gave
his Apostles, before parting, and when they were
about entering on the arduous duties of the minis
try, these last instructions I say, are not lost, al
though not recorded in the gospel. They form a
part of that precious deposite entrusted to the
church, and have, by an uninterrupted succession
of pastors, been transmitted undefiled to our pre
sent days, and will be thus transmitted to the most
remote generations, even to the consummation of
We believe, then, that the holy Catholic Church
is the supreme judge, in matters of faith, both to
determine the true sense of Scripture, and to settle
our belief with regard to that part of Christ s doc
trine, delivered by word of mouth.
Whenever the church has pronounced, the con
troversy is settled, doubts vanish, and we are as
curtain as if Jesus Christ himself had spoken.
This unerring authority of the church we dis
cover, 1st, in the positive and most unequivocal
promises of Jesus Christ.
2d. In the dictates of common sense.
1st. In the positive promises of Jesus Christ,
22 A DEFENCE Of CATHOLIC PRINCIPLES.
4 Upon this rock I will build my church, and the
gates of hell shall not prevail against it, Matt,
If the church could possibly tear^ damnable
errors, then the gates of hell could prevail against
her, contrary to the above promise. Go ye there
fore, and teach all nations ; baptizing them in the
name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the
Holy Ghost, teaching them to observe all things
whatsoever I have commanded you ; and behold I
am with you all days, even to the consummation
of the world, Matt, xxviii. 19, 20.* Christ ad
dressing his twelve Apostles on the present occa
sion, evidently speaks to all his ministers, succes
sors of the Apostles, to the end of time, which, I
think, needs no proof. Now, sir, upon that sub
ject, I form the following argument, which sound
* The passage taken from St. Matt. ch. 28, v. 19, 20, is
very forcible, and one of those which will for ever silence
every artifice and subterfuge of error. In fact, those words
of Almighty God, I am with you, are used in a hundred
places of the sacred Scriptures to designate a certain and
infallible protection. See Psal. xxii. 4; Judg. vi.12;
Isaiah, viii. 10. Our Lord making use of the same, wishes
them to signify a similar protection with regard to his
Apostles and their successors. But, how can he be said to
assist the pastors of his church in so special a manner, ii
he permit them to deviate from the truth ? How can he
be said to remain with them all clays to the end of thu
world, as he positively promises so to do, if it can e\er
happen to them to teach error and superstition.
A DEFENCE OF CATHOLIC PRINCIPLES. 23
logic will find correct. Christ promises that l\t
himself will be with his Apostles, baptizing, preach
ing and teaching all nations, until the consumma
tion of time : now Christ cannot tell a lie; there
fore, Christ has fulfilled his promise, and conse
quently, during these 1815* years past, Christ ha"
always been with his ministers, the pastors of tht
holy Catholic Church, and lie will continue to be
with them to the end of time, and will accompany
and guide them, when they preach his word and
administer his sacraments.
And I will ask the Father, and he shall give
you another paraclete, that he may abide with you
for ever, the spirit of truth, John xiv. 16, 17.J
It appears that Christ asked his heavenly Father to
* Now 1S80 years.
f The same observation that was applied to the above
text of St. Matt, may be applied to this of St. John xiv.
16, 17. Some, perhaps, may object to it, that the prayers
of our Lord have not always been efficacious, for example,
that which he addressed to his heavenly Father in the
garden of Olives, Matt. xxvi. 39, my Father, if it be pos
sible., let this chalice pass from me. But, that this was a
prayer merely conditional, it is easy to discover from the
words which immediately follow: Nevertheless, not as I
will, but as thou wilt. On the contrary, that the succes?
of his prayers made without restriction and condition, as
the one referred to, John xiv. 16, 17, is infallible, he him
self as- jres us in St. John xi. 41, 42, Father, I give ttve
thanks because thou hast heard me; ant I know thou
bearest me always.
24 A DEFENCE OF CATHOLIC PRINCIPLES.
bless his ministers, the pastors of his church, with
the spirit of truth for ever; pray, sir, did Christ
offer up any prayer in vain ? And if his prayer
was heard, how could the pastors of the church
ever preach false doctrine ?
But when he, the spirit of truth, shall come, lie
will teach you all truth, John xvi. 13. k The
church of the living God, the pillar and ground
of the truth, 1 Tim. iii. 15. If the church itself,
as it comes out of the hands of God, is the very
ground and pillar of truth, it will never want the
reforming hand of corrupted man to put it right ;
it will always teach the truth, the whole truth, and
nothing but the truth : and instead of attempting
to reform this most perfect of all the works and
institutions of God, you and I must be reformed
by it. To quote all the texts, that prove the holy
church of Jesus Christ to be infallible, or invested
by Christ with a supreme and unerring authority
in matters of faith, would be endless. I said that
we discover this unerring authority even in the
dictates of common sense. Yes, sir, common
sense tells us, that the works of God are perfect
in their kind. Now the church being most em
phatically the work of God, it most assuredly
must be perfect; the church, however, must be
very imperfect indeed, if it wants the main perfec
tion, which is our guide and director to heaven ,
it therefore must have that of always teaching
A DEFENCE OF CATHOLIC PRINCIPLES. 25
truth, that of always supplying the wants of our
limited and corrupted reason, that of always car
rying before our eyes the bright and divine light
Shew us a church which is not infallible, which
owns itself fallible, wanting of course the maiu
perfection which the church of Christ must have,
and you shew us a church of corrupted man, not
the church of Christ. Common sense tells us
that, without an infallible tribunal, unanimity in
faith is a thing impossible. Without a centre of
unity, a fixed standard, an absolute and infallible
tribunal, a living oracle to determine the mind, it
is absolutely impossible, that men, framed as they
are, should ever come to one and the same way
of thinking. Whoever renounces this infallible
authority of the church, has no longer any sure
means to secure him against uncertainties, and to
settle his doubts; he is in a sad and perplexed
situation, tossed to and fro by every wind of doc
We are confirmed in the above suggestions of
common sense, by our observations. Unity in
faith, we find no where but in the Catholic
Church; above a hundred and fifty millions o r
Catholics, scattered over the face of the earth, are
perfectly one in matters of faith. We meet from
the distant parts of the globe, ignorant of one
another s language, manners, customs, &c. yet our
26 A DEFENCE OF CATHOLIC PRI.\ 7 CIPLES,
thoughts and principles about religion and its my
tsries are exactly alike. Pray, sir, is that unity to
be found among those, who have shaken off the
authority of the church ?* Since they have pre
sumed to reform (as they call it) the Catholic
Church, what do we see but one reformation
upon another, hundreds and hundreds of different
churches, one rising on the ruins of another, all
widely different from one another, each styling
herself the church of Christ, each appealing to
the gospel for the orthodoxy of her doctrine, each
calling her ministers, ministers of Christ, each
calling the sermons of her ministers, the word of
God, &c. &c.f
* Our articles and liturgy, says Dr. Tomline, bishop ot
Lincoln, in his charge to his clergy, 1S03, do not correspond
with the sentiments of any of the reformers upon the con
tinent, or with the creeds of any of the Protestant churches
which are there established. Our church is not Lutheran-
it is not Calvanistic it is not Arminian it is Scriptural. 5
Query, which did his Lordship believe the others to be,
scriptural or unscriptural ?
f Very striking is the conduct of Protestants with re
spect to the necessity of the authority of the church to
settle disputes concerning faith. They have been com
pelled, through want of other efficacious means, to estab
lish among themselves that authority, or rather its shadow
This was particularly the case at the famous Synod of Doit.
There indeed, the greater number of Calvin s followers,
viz: the Gomarists, strove to crush their opponents, the
Arminians, by the weight of Synodal, and even civil au
A DEFENCE OF CATHOLIC PRINCIPLES. 27
Common sense tells us, that the gospel, the
written word, could not have been intended as the
supreme judge, to fix our belief in matters of faith.
1st. Because it may be misunderstood.
The many contradictory doctrines, drawn from
Scripture, prove that it is often misunderstood, anci
thority : thus arrogating to themselves a power which they
refused to acknowledge in the church, notwithstanding her
incontestable claims ; admitting in practice, what they
denied in theory ; and contradicting their principles in the
face of the whole world. See Bossuet s Exposition and
History of Variations, book xiv.
Nor is this, however, peculiar to the Synod of Doit.
The same has taken place in the reformed churches of
France, in the established church of England, and, gene
rally, in all Protestant societies. All of them, after reviling
the exercise of authority in matters of faith, as an act of
tyranny, have nevertheless been reduced to resort to it
themselves. In all of them, the leaders exercise over theii
flocks the most arbitrary despotism, and arrogate to them
selves the privileges of infallibility, by requiring implicit
submission of their deluded followers. A gross inconsis
tency, it is true ; a full contradiction to the principles of
Protestantism; but which shows, after all, how necessary
is a living authority to settle all differences concerning
matters of faith. Now, which of the two is to be pre
ferred : the authority of a few men, who have received
from God no mission whatever, and do not so much 3
agree amongst themselves ; or the authority of the Catholic
Church, who derives, through a regular succession, her
claims from the Apostles, and has no other origin than
that of Christianity itself. See Bossuet s Exposition, and
Fletcher s Controversial Sermons note K to sermon ii
28 A DEFE.VC OF CATHOLIC PRINCIPLES.
even in matters which Christ declares it indispen
sably necessary for salvation. Witness the fol
Except a man be born again, of water and the
Holy Ghost, he cannot enter into the kingdom of
God, Joan. iii. 5.
Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man,
artd drink his blood, you shall not have life in
you, Joan vi. 54.
Without faith it is impossible to please God,
Heb. xi. 6.
You will readily acknowledge that these several
texts, although directing us to do certain things as
indispensably necessary for salvation, are inter
preted in contradictory ways, and of course mis
Some find in the gospel the necessity of baptism
for salvation ; others find in it, salvation without
Some find in it the necessity ol receiving the
flesh and blood of Christ; others find, that Christ
gave us nothing but bread and wine, as memorials
of his death.
Some find in the gospel that faith alone will
save; others find in the gospel, the insufficiency of
Some find in the gospel absolute and uncondi
tional predestination; others reject it as impious
A DEFENCE OF CATHOLIC PRINCIPLES. *29
Now, sir, are all these right? Or, will it he
g.iid, that it is immaterial which of these contra
dictory opinions we embrace ? No, sir, common
sense tells us that Holy Writ was not given us to
be misunderstood, that when misunderstood, it
leads us astray, whereas it was intended to guard
us against the misfortune of being led astray.
Common sense tells us then, that Scripture being
a dead letter, a dumb book, which cannot explain
itself, Christ must have provided some visible and
living authority, some supreme and unerring tribu
nal, to explain Scripture, and that this is and can
be no other than the church.
Otherwise, Jesus Christ, the uncreated wisdom,
would have acted less wisely than human legisla
tors, who indeed do not establish laws, without
establishing tribunals to explain them. So much
the less wisely, as the Holy Scriptures are in se
veral parts full of obscurity : witness St. Peter,
who says of the epistles of St. Paul : in which
are some things hard to be understood, which the
unlearned and unstable wrest, as also the other
Scriptures to their own destruction, 2 Pet. iii. 16.
Witness also the difference, and even contrariety
of expositions, given by Protestants themselves.
on points of the greatest importance.
A second reason, why Scripture cannot be our
supreme judge in matters of faith, is, because there
are many that cannot read.
30 A DEFENCE OF CATHOLIC PRINCIPLES.
A third reason is : the gospels and epistles were
not written for many years after the church of
Christ was established and spread among many
nations. For many hundred years after that, the
art of printing not having been discovered, the
Holy Scripture could not have been in the hands
of many persons; and yet during that time the pre
cious deposite of faith was as well kept as it has
been since Holy Writ is in the hands of every
body. Yes, sir, and better ; every body cannot
read, but every body, learned or unlearned, can
submit to the church, transmitting to both, by the
assistance of the Holy Ghost, the doctrine of
Christ uncorrupted and in its primitive purity.
Here, sir, is a mode of instruction adapted to every
body s capacity.
A fourth reason : if I must take up my creed by
reading Scripture, I must be convinced that the
book which is put into my hands, and called the
Holy Scripture, is really the genuine Scripture, as-
written by the Apostles ; I, a poor illiterate man.
not having enjoyed the benefit of a liberal educa
tion, hardly acquainted with my own language,
how shall I know whether the English Bible
which you put into my hands is a faithful transla
tion of the original Hebrew and Greek or not. 1
shall have to take your word for it ! Jf I do, my
faith then is pinned to your sleeve. But no, sir, I
cannot submit to do so, because I find material
A DEFENCE OF CATHOLIC PRINCIPLES. 31
differences in different translations of the Scrip
tures ; of course, I am kept in suspense, if I know
of none but a barely human authority in support
of each of the different translations.
A fifth reason is : that the Bible alone affords no
security as to faith. For, it is not only concerning
the fidelity of the translations, and the true sense
of the Scriptures, that Protestants should entertain
the most perplexing doubts ; but, they should do
the same concerning the very authenticity and in
spiration of that sacred volume Catholics, indeed,
have not yet received a satisfactory answer, nor
will such an answer, consistently with the princi
ples of Protestantism, ever be given to the follow
ing questions : how do you know that the different
books of the Bible are authentic ; how do you
know that all of them, and no other books, are to
be received as sacred ; why do you admit neither
more nor less than four gospels ? Sec. &c.
Here Protestants cannot appeal to the Scriptures
themselves, because this would be to beg the ques
tion, and, moreover, the Scriptures are silent on
Neither can they appeal to the testimony of
past ages; because they reject the authority of
tradition with that of the church, and, in their
opinion, the testimony of any body of men is
IS" or to the contents of the sacred books, viz:
32 A DEFENCE OF CATHOLIC PRINCIPLES.
prophecies and divine revelations ; because n.ost
of these books are merely historical or moral.
Moreover, this would suppose as prove.d, the very
fact which is to be proved, viz : the authenticity of
Nor to the holy doctrine which they contain,
nor to the wonderful effects produced by them ;
for, the Spiritual Combat, the Following of Christ,
the Sinner s Guide. &c. contain a most pious doc
trine, and have produced most happy effects in
innumerable souls ; nevertheless, they are, by no
means, considered as divine and sacred.
Nor, in fine, to a certain interior light, or illus
tration of the Holy Ghost. The obscurity or
simplicity of several books of the Old and New
Testament, the difference of opinions among Pro
testants on the canonicity of some others; in a
word, both good sense and experience show that
this last reason is to be rejected as quite unfound
ed, as a mere illusion.
Thus it is that Protestants who cease not to
appeal to the Bible, cannot according to their prin
ciples, be confident of its divinity, and find them
selves stopped at the very outset. Still they admit
the Bible: but why, and on what grounds ? Is it
sufficient of itself without the four great charac
teristics of the church, viz : Unity, Holiness, Ca
tholicity, and Apostolicity ; and is it conformable
to the great maxim of Protestantism, according tc
which every body of men is liable to err >r?
A DEFENCE OF CATHOLIC PRINCIPLES. 33
A sixth reason is : that on examining the con
duct of Protestants, I find it quite at variance with
their principles. A Protestant, to be consistent,
must neither believe nor disbelieve any thing
which he has not previously discussed. Hence,
I would reasonably suppose, that he has compared
his religion with all others that differ from it, and
consequently, is convinced that his own religion
is divine, and all others merely human institutions.
But on the contrary, I find that with very few
exceptions, the Protestant believes as he does,
because accident has placed him in the society of
Protestants. For after having rejected the tradi
tion of the universal church, he, with strange in
consistency, implicitly submits to the yoke of the
particular tradition of the society to which he
happens to belong. This, properly speaking, is
the only guide of all or nearly all* of the reformed
* As for those amongst the Protestants, who, like the
Methodists, Quakers, &c. have adopted for their rule of
faith immediate and private inspiration, they do nothing
but wander still farther from the right path. For, is it not
evident, that such a system is mere fanaticism ; quite con
trary to every idea which we ought to entertain of the
wisdom of God, and of his providence with respect to his
church; capable of producing as many sects as it has pro
fessors, and of leading men into every error and supersti
tion ? The experience of all ages, from the time of Mon-
tanists down to our own days, evidently confirms what w
34 A DEFENCE OF CATHOLIC PRINCIPLES.
sects, with regard to every part of their doctrine.
In fact, before reading the Holy Scriptures, in
order to form his faith, a Protestant, whether lie
be a Calvinist, an Episcopalian, or a Lutheran, has
his belief already formed by the catechism which
lie learned from his childhood, as well as by the
discourses with which his ears have constantly
been greeted at home, at school, and in church.
When he opens the sacred volume for the first
time, he cannot fail to rind in every text, the sense
commonly affixed to it in his society. The opi
nions which he has already imbibed, are for him
the dictates of the Holy Ghost. If he chanced to
understand the Scriptures in any other sense, and
dared maintain his private interpretation, he would
be excommunicated, proscribed, and treated as a
Such has ever been the conduct of heretics
since the first ages. "Those wno advise us to
examine, says Tertullian, Hvish to draw us after
them. As soon as we have become their follow
ers, they establish as dogmas, and prescribe with
haughtiness, what they had before feigned to sub
mit to our examination, de Praescript, cap. 8.
Would not one imagine that Tertullian intended
to portray the Reformers thirteen hundred years
oefore their birth ?
Another proof that the belief of Protestants is
founded upon their particular tradition, is that
A DEFENCE OF CATHOLIC PRINCIPLES. 35
they repeat, even in our days, the arguments, the
impostures, and the calumnies of the first pre
tended Reformers, although a thousand times re
futed, and they believe them as the word of God
These are sufficient reasons to induce us to be
lieve that Holy Writ (although certainly God ?
word) was not intended to be our supreme judge
in matters of faith ; and to convince us that Christ
has provided us with a living, visible and supreme
authority, to settle all our doubts with regard to
the true translation of the Scripture, the true sense
of it, and likewise with regard to many other es
sential matters not to be found in Holy Writ, but
delivered by tradition. We believe then, that the
Catholic Church is this living, visible and supreme
authority ; and if we are asked where we believe
this authority resides ; we answer, in the body of
Christ s ministers, the pastors of the Catholic
Church, united with their head, the Roman Pon
tiff, and the lawful successors of those pastors,
whom Jesus Christ appointed, and invested with
full authority to discharge the functions of his
ministry. To that body of pastors we look for
heavenly instructions, in them we see the legates
of Jesus Christ, invested by him with the same
authority that he himself had received from his
heavenly Father, As the Father hath sent me, .1
also send you, John xx. 21.
36 A DEFENCE OF CATHOLIC PRINCIPLES.
Ill them we behold the organs of the Holy
Ghost, he that heareth you, heareth me, Luc,
x. 16. And I will ask the Father, and he shal?
give you another paraclete, that he may abide with
you forever, the spirit of truth, John xiv. 16,
17. But when he, the spirit of truth, shall come,
he will teach you all truth, John xvi. 13.
Dear sir, are we then guilty of superstition in
putting full confidence in these assertions and pro
mises of Christ, and in thus believing that tht
spirit of truth never has departed, and never wil
depart from the pastors of Christ s church? In
our pastors we behold men invested with the keys
of the kingdom of heaven ; that is, with the power
of administering absolution or the forgiveness of
our sins, Matt. xvi. 19, xviii. 18, and John xx. 23
To them we apply, and from their hands we re
ceive our heavenly and spiritual food, the sacred
flesh and blood of Jesus Christ, which he enjoins
us to receive, John vi. 48, 59 ; and which he
empowers his ministers to procure for us, Luke
Can it be superstition, dear sir, to believe that
our pastors are really in possession of the power,
which Christ himself asserts he gave them, and
which he promises shall remain with them for
ever ? Since Jesus Christ has pledged his sacred
veracity for the existence of those several powers
n the pastors of his church, and since he has
A DEFENCE OF CATHOLIC PRINCIPLES. 37
likewise promised, that the very fountain of truth,
the Holy Ghost, shall be, and shall remain with
those pastors for ever ; we should . think our
selves guilty of a great sin, if we refused the sub
mission of either our understanding or will, to
their decisions and their precepts, and of a most
daring presumption, and diabolical pride, if we
would, even for one moment, permit our limited
reason to sit in judgment over the decisions and
precepts of those, whom Jesus Christ thus de
clares to oe guided by the Holy Ghost for ever.
Seeing then that the pastors of the church of
Christ, have always been secured by the infinite
power of God, against the danger of being them
selves led astray, and of leading those under their
care astray into false and erroneous doctrines, we
rest secure under their guidance, and knowing that
the understanding of the most transcending genius
can never penetrate into the mysteries of the Most
High, we, both learned and unlearned, take the
easy and only safe way of submission, that path
in which Holy Writ assures us, that the very fools
cannot err, Isa. xxxv. 8.
It is perhaps necessary to observe, that we do
not believe this unerring authority to reside in any
individual pastor. No : the pope himself, the
successor of St. Peter, and the supreme pastor of
the Catholic Church, is not by any article of
Catholic communion believed to be infallible
38 A DEFENCE OF CATHO1 1C PRINCIPLES.
This unerring authority is by all Catholics be
lieved to reside irv the body of the pastors, united
with their head. If it does not reside there, it
resides no where on earth ; and the plain promises
of Christ are made void, and we left to be tossed
to and fro by every wind of doctrine, which
Christ meant to prevent by the establishment of
pastors, Ephes. iv. 11, 12, 13, 14.
If we are asked how a body of sinful and falli
ble men, can give infallible decisions ? We an
swer, by the power of God.
How can there be life in a lump of clay ? We
find the answer in Genesis ii. 7. And the Lord
God breathed into his face the breath of life, and
man became a living soul.
How can there be infallibility in the decisions
of a body of fallible men ? We iind the answer
in John xx. 22. He (Jesus Christ) breathed on
them, and he said to them, receive ye the Holy
Ghost, &c. &c.
The weak things of the world hath God chosen,
that he may confound the strong, 1 Cor. i. 27.
We readily grant, that men, evn the mos*
learned, are fallible and subject to errors, whilst
depending upon their reason, and their learning
alone; and for this reason we believe, that not
even the most extraordinary taler.ts, improved by
the most liberal education that can be obtained
upon earth, will ever alone qualify a man for a
A DEf.NCE OF CATHOLIC PRINCIPLES. ,iVJ
minister of Christ, a pastor of souls, a spiritual
guide to heaven ; to pilot us surely and securely
through the raging billows of a tempestuous sea,
into the harbour of eternal peace. No, dear sir,
this would be for the blind to lead the blind: for,
if after nearly six thousand years of unrelenting
exertions, human wisdom and philosophy have
not been able to penetrate into one of the millions
of secrets of this material world, which in a short
time will be destroyed by fire : how much less
can the limited understandings of even the most
elevated geniuses penetrate into the dark recesses
of God s sanctuary, where all is mystery ? How
much less, I say, can they comprehend and explain
the profound mysteries of this spiritual world, the
church, created for the soul of man, which is to
last for ever and ever, so long as God shall be
Here, then, God in his mercy interposes his
infinite power. Wishing to give us sure guides
to lead us safely into the harbour of eternal life,
Jesus Christ, God-man, by infusing his Holy Spiri
of truth into those fallible men, whom he appoints
his successors in the ministry, and promising never
to take that spirit from them again, supplies at
once the want of that knowledge which no genius,
no talents, no education, ever will be able to give
The body of pastors then, being guided by the
ITolv Ghost every individual pastor draws his
40 A DEFENCE OF CATHOLIC PRINCIPLES.
knowledge from that body, from the whole church.
The most learned among them is willing to say
with Jeremiah the prophet, A, a, a, Lord God, be
hold, I cannot speak, for I am a child, Jer. i. 6
He is willing to acknowledge the depth of those
mysterious truths of religion, in the investigation
of which he must stumble at every step, unless
directed by an unerring guide. Thus he applies
to the decisions of the church, for the true sense
of Holy Writ, for the true doctrine of Christ de
livered by tradition, for the knowledge of all those
tenets of religion necessary to be known for sal
vation. Thus, the pastor himself is led, and he is
fit to be a pastor only, because he is led by an infal
lible guide, and instead of consulting his limited
and fallible reason, in the interpretation of Scrip
ture, instead of delivering from the pulpit his
opinions of the sense of Scripture, and calling
such fallible opinions the Word of God, he gives
no instruction to his flock, but what he derives
from the decisions of the church, guided by the
Holy Spirit of truth. Thus thousands and hun
dreds of thousands of pastors, scattered over the
whole globe, of different nations and tongues, de
liver to their respective flocks one and the same
doctrine, on all the different parts and mysteries
of religion, and this doctrine they deliver not as
opinions, but as a matter of certainty ; as certain
as that God is God. Is it not a pity that things.
A DEFENCE OF CATHOLIC PRINCIPLES. 41
on which our salvation essentially depend, should
be only matters of opinion ? It is my opinion,
says one, that children may be saved without
baptism ; it is my opinion, says another, that God
is too merciful to damn souls for ever; I think,
says another, that it is immaterial what a person
believes, or what religious creed he adopts, so he
leads, a good life. It is your opinion! And you
think ! Pray, are you certain ? And if you are
not certain in matters of such weight, how can<
~ou be happy ? Good God ! Will you leave it
.o the day of judgment to disclose whether you are
right or wrong? Or, will you not rather renounce
that fallible guide, your limited and corrupted!
reason, which never can give certainty in matters
of revelation, and apply for spiritual knowledge to
the fountain of eternal truth, the holy Catholic-
Church, guided by the Holy Ghost, that you may
no longer feed on opinions and uncertainties, but
repose in the bosom of certainty.
The true minister of Christ, dear sir, speaking
in the name of his Divine Master, must speak
with authority, with certainty, without any hesita
tion, on all the different mysteries of religion, on
which he is obliged to instruct his flock. \\o
to the wretch who shall deliver his private opi
nions, his own uncertain notions as the Word ot
God; and thus often give poison for wholesome
42 A DEFENCE OF CATHOLIC PRINCIPLES
food, the productions of weak and corrupted rea
son for divine revelations.
The idea which we have of a minister of Christ,
you will perceive is precisely the same that the
first Christians must have had. Surely, dear sir,
the church in 1815 must be the same as it was in
the beginning: the same kind of pastors, provided
with the same powers, administering the same
baptism, the same eucharist or Lord s supper, in
short, all the same sacraments, and preaching the
same doctrine. For the words of God are un
changeable, Mark xiii. 31; his promises, infallible,
2 Cor. i. 20 ; his gifts, without repentance, Rom.
xi. 29. Jesus Christ intended not to establish
different churches, but only one, which being once
founded, should last with the same faith, the same
prerogatives, the same government, until the end
of the world.
The Apostles of Christ, scattered over the globe,
preached one and the same doctrine, because
Christ was with them, Matt, xxviii. 19, 20.
The ministers of Christ in 1815, scattered over
the globe, preach likewise one and the same doc-
trine, because Christ is still with them.
C I am with you all days, even to the consum-
vmation of the world. Matt, xxviii. 19, 20.
The Apostles of Christ received the confessions
of the faithful. And many of those who be
lieved, came confessing and declaring their deeds, 1
A DEFENCE OF CATHOLIC PRINCIPLES. 43
Acts xix. 18. They had received from Jesus
Christ the power of forgiving and retaining sins,
John xx. 22, 23.
The ministers of Christ in 1815, likewise hear
the confessions of the faithful, because they have no
idea that Christ ever deprived them of that power.
The Apostles of Jesus Christ proposed as infal
lible the decisions of the whole church, because,
they knew the church to be guided by the Holy
Ghost; witness the first council held at Jerusalem,
which settled the question about circumcision; to
the decisions of which all submitted.
It has seemed good to the Holy Ghost and to
us, to lay no further burthen upon you than these
necessary things. He (Paul) went through Syria
and Cilicia, confirming the churches : commanding
them to keep the precepts of the Apostles and the
ancients, Acts xv. 28, 41. And again, As they
passed through the cities, they delivered unto them
the decrees for to keep, that were decreed by the
Apostles and ancients who were at Jerusalem, :
Acts xvi. 4.
The ministers of Christ in 1815, likewise sub
mit to the decisions of the general councils of the
church, because they know that the Holy Ghost is
as much with the church in 1815, as he was im
mediately after her institution. I will ask the
Father, and he shall give you another paraclete,
that he may abide with you for ever, John xiv. 16,
44 A DEFENCE OF CATHOLIC PRINCIPLES.
In short, sir, we do not conceive why less spi
ritual powers should be attributed to the ministry
of Christ in 1815, than in the year 100 or 3QO,
&c. &c. for at all times, and in all ages, the mhfis-
try is, most assuredly, intended for the same func
tions, as is evident from Matt, xxviii. 19, 20.
A minister of Christ in 1815, is a preacher of
the truth, as well as in the year 100, and the
truth, in 1815, is certainly the same, as in the
year 100. c Some, indeed, he gave to be Apostles,
and some Prophets, and others Evangelists, and
others Pastors and Teachers, for the perfecting of
the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the
edifying of the body of Christ : until we all meet
in the unity of faith, ^tc. Eph. iv. 11, 12, 13.
A minister of Christ in 1815, is a minister of
reconciliation, as well as in the year 100. You
will readily allow, that men in 1815, are sinners
as well as in former years, and therefore stand as
much in need, as in former years, of those hea
venly means and remedies, which our blessed
Lord sent his Apostles to administer. Go ye,
therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in
the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of
the Holy Ghost, Matt, xxviii. 19. Whose sins
you shall forgive, they are forgiven them; and
whose sins you shall retain, they are retained,
John xx. 23. Let a man look upon us as ministers
of Christ, and the dispensers of the mysteries of
A DEFENCE OF CATHOLIC PRINCIPLES. 46
God, 1 Cor. iv. 1. Thus by baptism, they, in
1815, wipe away the stain of original sin, as well
as Christ s immediate successors did. Thus also,
by absolution, in 1815, they wipe away the stain
of actual sin, as well as the ministers first appoint
ed by Christ. It cannot be conceived, that Jesus
Christ should grant the power of forgiving sins
merely in favour of a single generation, and
should then (as if repenting of that grant) deprive
all future generations of the same favour and bene
fit; neither can it be believed, as there is not a
word from the mouth of Christ in favour of such
a belief. We believe then (even from the written
word, without reference to the decision of the
church,) that all the spiritual powers, originally
granted by Christ to his ministers, still continue
with his ministers, and will to the consummation
of time. And we believe that any one, not in
possession of those spiritual powers, which Christ
himself declares he gave his ministers, cannot be
a minister of Christ ; he may be a gentleman, he
may be a man of learning, he may be what you
please, but most assuredly he cannot be a minister
of Christ. I shall thank you, dear sir, to point
out to me, how, in thus believing, we are guilty
Having explained to you, what we believe of
the church and the ministry of Jesus Christ, I
shall now, in a brief manner, lay before you some
46 A DEFENCE OF CATHOLlC PRINCIPLES.
of the particular tenets of the holy Catholic
Church, those I mean which distinguish that
church from all others. I begin with confession.
THIS I know is the great stumbling block for
all those, who, within the last three hundred
years, have separated from the holy Catholic
Church. We believe that the ministers of Christ,
those whom we call bishops and priest, have re
ceived the power of forgiving and retaining sins,
which was given to the Apostles according to
John xx. 22, 23.
Pray, sir, is it superstition to believe that our
omnipotent and merciful God is as able and as he
was willing to continue that power in 1815, as he
was, to give it to his first ministers.
If we believed that man, by his own power,
could forgive sin, you would be very justifiable in
accusing us of superstition ; for who can forgive
sins but God, or he who has received that powei
We believe that confession is necessarily dedu-
cible from the grant of the above power. It can
not be conceived how a minister of Christ is to
A DEFENCE OF CATHOLIC PRINCIPLES. 47
exercise his power of forgiving or retaining sins,
unless he has an exact knowledge of the state of
the sinner s conscience ; this knowledge no one
can give him but the sinner himself, as probably
ninety-nine out of a hundred are sins concealed
from the public eye, sins of thoughts, or desires,
The minister of Christ forgives in the name and
by the power of Christ ; but, he cannot grant ab
solution of the sins confessed to him without a
moral certainty, that such is the inward state of
the sinner, such his repentance, such his purpose
of amendment, such his willingness to make res
titution of property, character, &c. as to entitle
him to the mercy of God, and to forgiveness from
The objections made against confession and the
power of forgiving sins, are so futile, the benefits
arising from that sacred institution so manifold
and so solid, that it cannot be conceived how so
many thousands were and are willing to be de
prived of so valuable a blessing.
These benefits are so great, that even some of
the most relentless enemies of the church could
not refuse their encomiums to that holy institu
tion. There is not, perhaps, a wiser institution, 1
says Voltaire in his remarks on the tragedv of
This Voltaire, the greatest enemy that the church
48 A DEFENCE OF CATHOLIC PRINCIPLES.
ever had, who spent his life in ridiculing the holy
Scriptures and all the institutions of Christ, who
declared an open war against Christ ; this Voltaire,
at the age of eighty odd, when in his last sickness,
sent for a priest to make his confession to him.
Confession is an excellent thing, says the Philo
sophical Dictionary, a curb to inveterate wicked
ness. In the remotest antiquity, confession was
practiced in the celebration of all the ancient mys
teries ; we have imitated and sanctified this wise
practice. It is excellent to induce hearts, ulcerated
by hatred, to forgive, and to make thieves restore
what they have unjustly taken from their neigh
bour. The Lutherans of the Confession of Augs
burg, have preserved that salutary institution.
Luther himself would not suffer it to be abolished.
Sooner (says he) would I submit to the Papal
tyranny, than let confession be abolished. Col
lection of Luther s German writings, vol. 3, p. 272.
We find the precept of confession given by
Almighty God to his chosen people.
Say to the children of Israel, when a man or
woman shall have committed any of all the sins
that men are wont to commit, and by negligence,
shall hare transgressed the commandment of the
Lord, and offended, they shall confess their sin,
and restore the principal itself, and the fifth part
over and above, &c. Numb. v. 6, 7.
It does not appear that the power of forgiving
A DEl-EtfCE OF CATHOLIC PRINCIPLES. 49
sins had been granted by Almighty God to the
ministers of the old law. The confession ordered
to he made under the law of Moses, may then be
considered as a preparation and a figure of that
required under the law of grace, which we call
sacramental confession, as by the power of God
and the merits of Christ, it has the grace of for
giveness and reconciliation annexed to it.
We find the practice of confession in the begin-
ing of Christianity. And many of those who be
lieved, came confessing and declaring their deeds,
Acts xix. 18.
We cannot believe that they came to boast of
their good deeds ; and therefore we understand
that they confessed their bad deeds, commonly
All the holy fathers of the church, from the
earliest dawn of Christianity, bear ample testimony
to the general practice of confession. It is difli-
cult to conceive how any man could ever have
persuaded mankind to submit to a practice so re
pugnant to flesh and blood, so mortifying to pride,
so humiliating to human nature. The univer
sality of this practice, to which the most powerful
kings and emperors, the most renowned military
commanders, the most exalted geniuses in all age*.
and in all parts of the world, have cheerfully
submitted, establishes in our minds a conviction
50 A DEFENCE OF CATHG JC PRINCIPLES.
beyond the possibility of a doubt, that confession
owes its origin to the founder of Christianity.*
The objections against sacramental confession,
I repeat it, are so futile, so trifling, as hardly tc
deserve any answer.
First objection. How can man forgive sins ?
I answer, by the power of God.
* With respect to the belief of the early ages, concern
ing the divine institution of confession, it will be suffi
cient to quote a few authorities. Remember, says Ter-
tullian, that Christ left the keys of heaven to St. Peter,
and through him to the church, Scorpiaci, cap. 10.
God, says St. Chrysostom, has not given to angels the
power which he has given to priests, who not only re
generate, but afterwards receive the power of forgiving
sins, Lib. iii. de Sacerdotio. It would be needless to
quote Origen in Psal. xiii ; St. Cyprian, de Lapsis, cap.
12 ; St. Ambrose, Lib. de Poenitentia, cap. 2 and 8, and
many others. I will now cite a passage from Henry viii.
in his Defence of the Sacraments against Luther, not so
much from any importance to be attached to his authority,
as from the reasons which he adduces, being obvious to
common sense. Though confession, says he, should not
have been mentioned, nor even a word said about it by the
holy fathers, yet, when I see so great a multitude, for so
many ages, confessing their sins to priests, I cannot be
lieve nor think otherwise than that the practice was not
introduced by human contrivance, but clearly instituted
by a divine precept. Confession, therefore, notwithstand
ing what Luther may say, appears to me, to have beer,
established, not by any custom of the people, nor by the
institution of the fathers, but by God himself
A DEFENCE OF CATHOLIC PRINCIPLES. -5i
1 ansver again with our blessed Saviour; That
you may know that the Son of man hath power
on earth to forgive sins, &c. Matt. ix. 6. He
does not say, That you may know that the Son
of God has power on earth to forgive sins ; to
give us to understand that this power, essentially
belonging to God alone, is here communicated to
man, the minister of God by excellence, and ex
ercised by him in his own person ; and again ex
ercised by him in the persons of his ministers, as
he sends them, most assuredly, to do what he did,
to preach as he did, to administer reconciliation as
he did, &c. All power is given to me in heaven
and in earth. Why this preamble, if he did not
mean to give them a supernatural power ? Go
ye therefore, &c. &c. Matt, xxviii. 18, 19. And
receive ye the Holy Ghost ; whose sins you shall
forgive ; they are forgiven, &c. John xx. 22, 23.
Second objection. The institution of confession
is a great encouragement to sin, as Papists think
they have nothing to do, in order to obtain for
giveness, but to relate their sins to a priest.
Answer. The institution of confession misrepre
sented, i? an encouragement to sin granted ; but
surely, sir, to form a sound judgment on Catholic
doctrines, it is not to polluted sources you will
apply. I do not know the Protestant writer who
represents them fairly ; yet, it is beyond all doubt,
that almost all the knt wledge which Protestants
52 A DEFENCE OF CATHOLIC PRINCIPLES.
have of Catholic principles, is derived from Pro
testant books. And pray what do they all say r
Beware of Catholic books, beware of popish
priests, beware of priestcraft, beware of popish
superstition; thus not one Protestant out of a
hundred ever has an opportunity of knowing the
genuine Catholic principles. As Fletcher very
justly observes ; the little knowledge which the
Protestant possesses of our religion is borrowed
entirely from the declamations of pulpit violence,
and the misrepresentations of interested prejudice.
In general, Catholic principles are exhibited in all
the dark colourings of malevolence, and in all the
ludicrous shapes of low ribaldry. In Drydeirs
A hideous figure of their foes they draw,
Nor lines, nor looks, nor shades, nor colours true,
And this grotesque design expose to public view,
And yet the daubing pleases !
To return to the second objection, I say that
confession, far from being an encouragement to
sin, is the greatest check, and the greatest remedy
It is in confession that the sinner discovers tc
the minister of Christ, the physician of his soul,
all his spiritual maladies, his weaknesses, his
temptations, his inclinations, his doubts, the scru
ples of his conscience, his apprehensions, &c and
it is there he finds comfort, encouragement, advice.
A DEFENCE OF CATHOLIC PRINCIPLES. 53
instructions, remedies against temptations, in short,
every thing that is necessary to cause him to for
sake the ways of perdition, and with the prodigal
son, to return to his father ; it is there, sir, lie is
told of his obligations it is there he is made sen
sible of the impossibility of obtaining forgiveness,
unless he restores what he got by stealing, cheat
ing, usury, or by any kind of injustice, unless he
is reconciled with his adversary, unless he for
sakes the occasion of sin. It is there he is re
minded of the vanity of earthly pleasure, of the
shortness of time, of the dreadful punishments
prepared for sinners by the infinite justice of God,
and of the incomprehensible blessings which the
mercy of God has prepared for his saints. It is
there, that in the most pathetic strains, the minister
of Christ exhorts the sinner to sincere repentance,
and exhibits before his eyes the merits and thy
sacred wounds of his dying Saviour, to rouse his
desponding confidence. Ah ! sir, is this encour
agement to sin ? Is this superstition ? Great
God ! your wrath must have been provoked to a
very high degree by the abominable sins com
mitted on this polluted earth, when you permitted
so many thousands of sinners to be deprived of
so valuable a blessing as that derived from sacra
Yes, sir, many thousands of sinners, and of the
most abandoned sinners, have been reclaimed in
54 A DEFENCE OF CATHOLIC PRINCIPLES
the tribunal of penance, and by the pious exertions
of Christ s ministers brought back to the practice
of virtue. There have been instances of sinners
dying in the confessional, their hearts breaking
with grief at the thoughts of having had the mis
fortune to offend their merciful God and Saviour.
Thus, according to Christ s declaration, Luc. vii.
47, in one moment they expiated, by the perfec
tion of their love, the sins of many years.
I shall here add one remark made by the cele
brated author of the Philosophical Catechism.
4 A thing well worth observing (says he) and
really supernatural and miraculous is the seal or
secret of confession, entrusted every day to thou
sands of priests, some of whom, alas ! ill qualified
for their profession, and capable of any other pre
varication, and yet so faithfully kept. Scarcely
can ALL church history, during a period of more
than eighteen hundred years, furnish one example
of infidelity in this point, even among those who
like Luther and Calvin, turned apostates to the
church. If any one reflects on the inconsistency
of mankind, on the curiosity of some, and the lo
quacity and indiscretion of others, on the nature
and importance of the affairs entrusted to confes
sors, the revelation of which would often have
astonishing effects, on the means which various
interests, avarice, jealousy and other passions fail
not to try in order to compass their ends, 8tc. ;
A DEFENCE OF CATHOLIC fRINC/PLES. X>
there will remain no doubt, but that God watches
over the preservation of his work, Philos. Ca
techism, vol. 3, chap. vii. art. 1.
I cannot forbear recommending, for your peru
sal, a book not very long since published in the
city of New York, entitled, The Catholic Question
You will there find what respect was paid to
that venerable institution (sacramental confession)
by a Protestant court of justice, at which presided
the honourable De Witt Clinton. The Rev. Dr.
Kohlman, a Catholic priest in the city of New
York, was, by that sacrament, an instrument of
restoring stolen property to its owner. Certain
persons had been previously arrested on suspicion,
and a prosecution instituted against them ; and Dr.
Kohlman, after restoring the stolen property to its
owner, was summoned to give in evidence, and
required to disclose the person or persons from
whom he had received it. He, in a most respect
ful manner, stated to the court that not having any
knowledge of the theft by any natural or common
way of information, it being solely acquired by
sacramental confession, it was his duty to suffer
any punishment, even death itself, rather than
divulge the knowledge acquired in that way. The
court unanimously decided in his favour; and
there being no evidence against .the defendants,
they were acquitted.
56 A DEFENCE OF CATHOLIC PRINCIPLES.
In that same book you will find a complete
treatise on sacramental confession, wherein by the
most respectable testimonies from the holy fathers,
it is clearly proved that sacramental confession
owes its origin to the Divine Founder of our holy
religion, and has been practised from the earliest
dawn of Christianity, and in all ages of the church,
down to our present times.
From this short explanation which I have given
of the Catholic doctrine of confession, you will
candidly acknowledge, dear sir, that the practice
of sacramental confession, far from being super
stitious, is a very useful one. I shall now explain
what the Catholic Church teaches and commands
us to believe with regard to the holy eucharist.
THE EUCHARIST OR LORD S SUPPER.
IT is sufficient to read the words of Christ in
the gospel to form an accurate idea of what the
Catholic Church believes on that important subject.
Jesus Christ says, 4 am the bread of life, John
vi. 35 and 48. I am the living bread, which came
down from heaven , if any man eat of this bread,
he shall live for ever ; and the bread which I will
give, is my flesh, for the life of the world, 1 John
vi. 51, 52.
A DEFENCE OF CATHOLIC PRINCIPLES. 57
Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man, and
drink his blood, you shall not have life in you.
He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood
hath everlasting life; and I will raise him up at tho
last day. For my flesh is meat indeed, and my
blood is drink indeed.
He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my
blood, abideth in me, and I in him.
As the living Father hath sent me, and I live
by the Father ; so he that eateth me, the same
also shall live by me, John vi. 54, 58.
Here you see in plain words what we believe on
the subject of the eucharist.
We believe that Jesus Christ is the living bread,
the food of our immortal souls, John vi. 35, 48.
We believe that we must feed on the sacred flesh
and blood of Christ, in order to obtain eternal life,
John vi. 54, 55.
We believe that the flesh of Christ and the
blood of Christ are our spiritual food indeed, and
not in figure, 58 ; and finally, that in the holy
eucharist we receive Jesus Christ himself, the
spiritual food of our souls, 58.
Divine mysteries being impervious to human
reason, we do not arrogate to ourselves the right
of philosophizing on the present mystery, nor do
we make ourselves uneasy about the means, by
which Christ is to enable us to accomplish what
he here requires. We do not ask with the Jews :
58 A DEFENCE OF CATHOLIC PRINCIPLES.
How can this man give us his flesh to eat ? But
with Simon Peter we say, Lord, to whom shall
we go ; thou hast the words of eternal life, John
vi. 69. Surely, sir, we ought not to be blamed
for believing that Christ meant what he said.
The Jew may be scandalized, the philosopher
may smile in his self-sufficiency, but the Catholic,
with the humility of a child, submits, not knowing
what it is to reason upon impenetrable mysteries.
He may stand in silent raptures of astonishment
at the depth of God s unfathomable wisdom, but
he does not know what it is to doubt, and he has
that comfort to know, that before the tribunal of
Christ he will be able to bring the very words of
Christ in evidence of the orthodoxy of his belief.
Pray, sir, laying aside all prejudice, will you
say that Christ, on the great day of retribution,
will condemn me as guilty of superstition for be
lieving precisely what he tells me, viz : that I
must receive his living flesh and blood ; that I
really receive both in the blessed eucharist ; that
I receive Christ himself according to his own re
peated declaration ? You will hardly say so.
On the other hand, what excuse, what plea will
any one have, who, notwithstanding Christ s posi
tive declaration, can see nothing in the sacrament,
but bread and wine ?
Christ said, you must eat my flesh and drink
my blood; no, no, says limited reason, for how
A DEFENCE OF CATHOLIC PRINCIPLES. 59
can Christ give us his flesh to eat ? Christ says ,
my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink
indeed. No, no, says corrupted reason, it cannot
be so indeed, it must be meant as a figure only.
Christ says : he that eateth me, shall live by me.
What (says limited reason) what! eat Christ?
that is absurd, that cannot be. An thus dons
man s corrupted reason do away and make void
the sacred words of Christ, and substitute a
shadow, a mere nothing, for the most precious
gift which Jesus Christ ever bestowed on man.
To a superficial mind there is perhaps some
thing specious in these dictates of limited reason.
But, sir, we must remember that to understand
and explain divine mysteries, is not the province
of human reason. If we are justifiable in reject
ing one mystery, because it is beyond the limits
of reason, then we may, nay, (in order to be con
sistent,) we ought to reject all divine mysteries as
beyond the same limits. Thus we ought to ex
punge from our creed the mystery of the trinity
and of the incarnation, the very fundamental prin
ciples of the Christian religion. Who indeed, can
conceive how there are three really distinct per
sons in God, and every one of them God, and yet
that there is but one God ? Even the existence
of a God invisible and immense ; in every place
whole and entire, and yet but one ; even the ex
istence of that God, I say, ought to be rejected, if
W A DEFENCE OF CATHOLIC PRINCIPLES.
we are justifiable in rejecting any mystery on
account of its being impervious to limited reason.
Here I would beg leave to observe, that a dis
tinction ought to be made, between a thing being
against reason and being above reason. *If a thing
is really against sound reason, we cannot submit
to believe it, neither would Almighty God require
it, as in doing so, he would contradict his own
work, which is impossible. If a thing is above
reason, that is, beyond the limits of the human
understanding : this is by no means a proof of its
With regard to the present mystery, then, if it
is really against sound reason, Christ cannot, and
will not require a belief of it ; if it is only beyond
the limits of reason, it ought, to be believed where
the words of Christ are plain. Nay, sir, its being
impervious to reason stamps on it a character oi
divinity, which essentially belongs to the works ol
Revelation, similar to the pillar of fire, which
guided the Israelites in the desert, has its dark
side; but it has likewise its luminous side,
whence emanate the purest and brightest rays of
truth. In vain would human reason endeavour to
penetrate into the dark recesses of the sanctuary ;
a veil hangs before it, and in granting us the bless
ing of revelation, it certainly was the will of God
to supply the wants, the insufficiency of reason
A DEFENCE OF CATHOLIC PRINCHLES. 61
ft was the will of the Most High, that to him,
with the most profound humility, we should
make a sacrifice, not of reason itself, but of that
vain and presumptuous confidence which we are
too apt to have in the dictates of our limited rea-
eon. As Mr. Voltaire observes, reason conducts
you; advance by its light, proceed a few steps
more-, but limit your career; on the brink of the
Infinite, stop short, there an abyss begins, which
you must respect.
4 The most common things (says the celebrated
Locke) have their dark sides, where the most
piercing eye cannot penetrate; many difficulties
are found in natural religion.
Conceive, if you can, how any thing can be
created out of nothing, how God is present every
where, without being confined by space ; conceive
what eternity is ; conceive, if you can, how in a
living man, soul and body are joined together. Is
it a wonder then, if in revealed religion, in God s
sanctuary, many mysteries are found, exceeding
the reach of human comprehension, and which it
would even be impious to attempt to fathom
The mysteries of revelation bear no proportion to
the measure of human understanding. Reason
leads you to the door of the sanctuary, but there it
leaves you. Pveason is now silent and God speaks 5
man listens, and adores. He sees evidently that
he should believe; he hears God distinctly dictate
62 A DEFENCE OF CATHOLIC PRINCIPLES.
mysteries, which he commands him to believe am)
to revere; but he understands not those mysteries,
which he is commanded to revere. He is even
more satisfied than if he understood what forms
the object of his belief: because, what man s
limited understanding can comprehend, appears to
be less awful, less worthy the divine greatness,
than what human wisdom cannot penetrate.
To return to the mystery of the eucharist, we
grant, it is, in a great measure, incomprehensible;
the most learned of our divines do not pretend to
comprehend it. But, sir, it is evident, that God
here speaks, and that he speaks in the most une
quivocal terms, that he repeatedly makes use of
the very same expressions : my flesh, my blood,
&c. It is evident that Christ at the last supper
tells his Apostles, Take and eat, &c. This is my
body, cc. Drink ye all of this, &c. This is my
blood. It is evident then, that we must listen
and adore. A positive refusal to believe would be
downright impiety. But, sir, if we permit our
limited reason to sit in judgment on the mysteries
of revelation, w r e may soon, by arbitrary interpre
tations, get rid of them all; and thus a belief,
framed by the interpretation of limited reason,
amounts to a real and positive refusal to believe.
In the present instance, what could justify us in
asserting, that in the eucharist nothing is given,
nothing received, but bread and wine ? Surely
A DEFENCE OF CATHOLIC PRINCIPLES. 63
not the words of Christ, for his words and his
repeated words are plainly, my Jlesh, my blood;
surely not the impossibility of receiving the flesh
and blood of Christ, for, it is certainly as easy for
Jesus Christ to feed our immortal souls with his
own flesh, as it was for him to assume that sacred
flesh. It is as easy for him to conceal his sacred
flesh and blood under the forms or appearances
of bread and wine, as it is easy for him to con
ceal his glorious divinity, although every where
present, from our eyes.
Surely it will not be said, that our belief is un
reasonable. God is so great, so magnificent, so
wonderful in his works ; he has done such stu
pendous things for the happiness of man, tha.
nothing how great, how mysterious, soever, pro
ceeding from so great a God, appears to us unrea
sonable to believe.
Our immortal souls are the images of the eter
Our immortal souls are redeemed by the merits
of the Divine Son, and washed in his sacred blood.
It is for the sake of those immortal souls, that
tiie Divine Son assumed human flesh and blood ;
and during thirty-three years, was willing to lead
a life of sufferings, and to subject himself to all
the torment? which the malice of hell and earth
combined, chose to inflict upon him.
It was for the sake of our immortal souls tliat
64 A DEFENCE OF CATHOLIC PRIJVC[PLES.
the Divine Son offered his sacred flesh and blood
as a victim of propitiation to be immolated on the
Our immortal souls then must be truly great,
truly precious, in the sight of God, when so much
was done for them. Is it then unreasonable to
believe, after all this, that nothing less than the
flesh and blood of a God-man is found by our
great and merciful God, worthy to afford spiritual
food and nourishment to those immortal souls,
especially as this flesh and blood by being sacri
ficed, became the life of those souls, which by sin
were dead, to eternal lifer
Will it be found unreasonable to believe, that
Christ meant precisely what he said ? Surely, he
came to instruct and not to deceive. When he
saw that the Jews were scandalized, and asked,
*how can this man give us his flesh to eat ? Was
not this the opportunity to undeceive them, and to
explain himself; in short, to say, 4 I do not mean
that you shall eat my flesh and drink my blood,
or in other words, 4 I do not mean what I said.
Instead of this, we find Jesus Christ, after a double
amen, insisting no less than six times in the most
unequivocal manner upon the necessity of receiv
ing his flesh and blood; we find Jesus Christ,
at the last supper, taking bread and wine, and hav
ing blessed them, giving them to his Apostles, and
saying, take ye and eat this is my body drink
A DEFENCE ,Vl< CATHOLIC PRINCIPLES. be)
ye all of this this is my blood, &c. We find
the great St. Paul, 1 Cor. x. 16, and xi. 23, 29,
making use of the very same expressions, and
condemning the unworthy receiver, for not uis-
cerning the Lord s body. Surely, sir, we could
not be required to discern the body of Christ,
were it not in the eucharist.
We afterwards find the whole church of Christ,
during eighteen centuries, that is, during almost
fifteen hundred years before the pretended refor
mation, and three hundred after it, believing and
teaching every where that the flesh and blood of
Christ are received in the holy eucharist.
In the first age of the church, St. Ignatius, dis
ciple of St. John the Evangelist, bishop of Antioch
and martyr, speaks in the following manner of cer
tain heretics of his time: they abstain from the
holy eucharist and oblation, because they do not
acknowledge the eucharist to be the flesh of our
Saviour Jesus Chr^t, which suffered for our sins.
Epist. ad Smyrn. Therefore, it is not the mere
figure of the body of Christ, as Protestants say.
but his flesh itself.
In the second age, St. Justin Martyr has the
following plain words. c As Jesus Christ incarnate
had flesh and blood for our salvation, so are we
taught, that the eucharist is the flesh and blood of
the same Jesus incarnate, Apolog. ii. ad Jlnton mm.
In the third age, St. Cyprian says, the bread
% A DEFENCE OF CATHOLIC PRINCIPLES.
which our Lord gave to his disciples, being
changed, not in shape, but in nature, by the omni
potence of the word, is made flesh. Serm. de
In the same age, the learned Origen says, in the
old law, the manna was meat in an enigma, but
now the flesh of God is meat in reality, as him
self says, my flesh is meat indeed, Horn. 1. in
In the same age again, Tertullian, the great
champion and defender of the faith, says, the
bread taken and distributed to his disciples, he
made his body, Book 4 against Marcion, ch. 40.
In the fourth age, St. Ambrose says, before it
be consecrated, it is but bread, but when the words
of consecration come, it is the body of Christ,
Book 4 of the Sacram. ch. 5.
In the same age, St. Gregory, of Nyssa, bears
testimony to the same truth, we truly believe,
even by the word of God, that the sanctified bread
is changed into the body of God, Orat. Catechist
Also, St. Cyril of Jerusalem, in his 4th Cate
chetical Instruction, says, since Christ himself
has said of the bread, this is my body, who wil,
henceforth dispute it ? And since he himself has
said, this is my blood, who will dare entertain any
doubt, and say, that it is not his blood ? On a
former occasion, he changed water into wine, at
A DEFENCE OF CATHOLIC PRINCIPLES. 67
Cana of Galilee ; shall we then consider him less
worthy of credit, when he changes wine into
blood ? Do not judge by the taste, but by laith,
and be assured beyond all doubt that what appears
to be bread, is not bread, but the body of Christ ;
and what appears to be wine, is not wine, but the
blood of Christ. Could the Doctor more clearly
express the real presence, or more forcibly exclude
the mere figure ?
And also St. John Chrysostom, bishop of Con
stantinople, c he that sits above with his Father,
even in the same instant of time gives himself to
all such as are willing to receive him, &c. whereas
Christ leaving his flesh to us, ye-t ascending to
heaven, there also he hath it, L. dt Sacerd.
The same in his 60th homily, to the people of
Antioch, has the following words :
What pastor feeds his sheep with his own
blood! but, what do I say? pastor! many mothers
there are, who after having suffered the pains of
labour, give their babes to strangers to nurse.
This Jesus Christ would not suffer, but he feeds
us himself, and that with his own blood.
In the fifth age, St. Augustine, that great lumi
nary of the church, and a convert from the Mani-
chean heresy, in his sermon on the 33d Psalm,
makes use of the following expressions : How
David could be carried in his own hands, we find
not. but in Christ we do, for lie was earned in his
(38 A DEFENCE OF CATHOLIC PRINCIPLE?.
own hands, when giving his body, he said, this is
my body; for then he carried that body in his
own hands, Stc.
In short, sir, it is evident, that in all ages, down
to the pretended reformation, the real presence of
Christ in the eucharist has been believed by all
Christendom. It is evident, that the same belief
has continued throughout the whole Catholic
world to our present days.
It is evident that such has always been, likewise,
the constant belief of the eastern or Greek Church.
See the testimonials of seven archbishops of the
Greek Church, in a book entitled, Perpehdte de la
Foi, vol. 3, p. 569, the testimonies of the arch
bishops and clergy of the Archipelago, page 572;
of four patriarchs of Constantinople, of the patri
arch of Alexandria, and of thirty-five metropoli
tans or archbishops, anno 1672, ch. 6, page 623 ;
of the churches of Georgia and Mingrelia, ch. 7,
page 634; of the patriarch of Jerusalem, &c. Sec.
Such is the faith of the Armenians, Moscorites,
Surians, Cophts, Moron ites, Russians, &c. &c *
* These testimonies and several similar ones are to be
found, not only in that learned work, La Perpetuite de la
Foi, but also in the Amicable Discussion, in the letters of
a Catholic doctor to a Protestant gentleman, by F. Scheff-
macher, and in the Literal arid Dogmatical Explanation of
the Ceremonies of the Mass, by F. Le Bran. They have
all the characteristics of authenticity that can be desired,
accompanied with the signatures not only of the
A DEFENCE OF CATHOLIC PRINCIPLES. 69
This truth appeared so evident to Luther him
self, that he never could get over it. His words
are very remarkable.
c lf any man (says he) could have convinced
me five years ago, that in the sacrament there is
nothing but bread and wine, he had wonderfully
obliged me, for with great anxiety did I examine
this point, and labour with all my force to get
clear of the difficulty, because by this means, I
Oriental bishops, but also of the ambassadors of different
It may be proper here to mention why and how they
About the middle of the 17th century, the celebrated
Nicolius had composed in favour of the real presence, a
work, in which he adduces, among other proofs, that taken
from the constant and unanimous belief of all Christian
churches, the reformed ones alone being excepted. As
the Protestant divines continued to maintain that the
eastern churches held the same belief as themselves con
cerning the eucharist, different ambassadors and consuls
were requested to ascertain the fact. Having, agreeably
to the request, made the necessary inquiries, they sent to
France the professions of faith of the patriarchs, arch
bishops, and bishops of the different Oriental churches.
All, without exception, expressed themselves in the most
positive terms in favour of the real presence which they
declared to be their doctrine, and complained of the calum
nies heaped on them by the Calvinists who had charged
them with holding the contrary ; whereas, they condemned
it as heretical, and anathematized those who dared main
70 A DEFENCE OF CATHOLIC PRINCIPLES
knew very well, I should terribly incommode the
Papists. But I find I am caught without hopes of
escaping, for the text of the gospel is so clear, as
not to be susceptible of misconstruction. *
* Luther held Christ to be really present together with
the bread in the sacrament, as iron and fire are united in a
red-hot bar. This sort of presence is called consubstantia-
tion, and is surely as incomprehensible as the Catholic
doctrine of transubstantiation. Calvin himself, asserted
against Luther, that the doctrine of Catholics was more
conformable to Scripture than his. Now, though it is evi
dent that all the difficulties and alleged absurdities, attri
buted to the Catholic doctrine, equally attach to the
Lutheran, yet what preacher has ever attacked the latter,
or what civil disabilities has it brought on its followers,
while the former has constantly been a subject of profane
ridicule for its enemies, and in some countries, for exam
ple, Great Britain, a pretext for depriving its followers of
their natural rights? This strange difference of conduct
must excite the surprise of every reflecting mind. But, as
the celebrated statesman, Canning, well observed, in a de
bate on the Catholic Question, April 21, 1825, sympathy
is quite the other way; now, continued he, what is it
that we object to in the Catholic belief? One doctrine is
that of transubstantiation. Yet do we not admit into our
religious creed that other doctrine, consubstantiation ?
which, if any one read Luther s polemic discourse on this
subject, he will perceive it to bear so strong an affinity or
relationship to the former, as not to be able to ascertain
very easily their discrepancy or difference. Yet the oppo
nent to the Catholic claims, will consider the man who
professes to believe in consubstantiation, a faithful subject,
and denounce the other as a traitor.
A DEFENCE OF CATHOLIC PRINCIPLES 71
Later Reformers were not so scrupulous, but
soon got over the difficulty, by cutting 1 the Gor-
This indeed, is an easy way to get over all the
difficulties we meet in the gospel, a way pretty
generally followed by the philosophers of the day.
But, dear sir, I hope you will not accuse us of
superstition for taking a safer way, that of simply
believing, even where we cannot understand, how!
In believing the real presence of Christ in the
eucharist, in believing that we receive the flesh
and blood of Christ; in believing that we receive
Christ himself, in believing that the substance of
the flesh and blood of Christ; so far from being
guilty of superstition, we have the satisfaction to
know that we believe precisely what Christ com
mands us to believe, what almost all Christendom,
these eighteen hundred years, always did believe,
and what at present, by far the greatest part of
the Christian world, above two hundred millions,
including the Greek Church, do believe.
1 will suppose for a while, sir, that I am waver
ing, perplexed, uncertain what to believe on the
subject of the eucharist, and that J apply to you
as a minister of Christ in order to have my doubts
resolved, my difficulties removed, and certainty
fixed in my mind, what would you tell me, what
security could you offer in order to induce me tc
reject the overwhelming weight of an the ritv
72 A DEFENCE OF CATHOLIC PRINCIPLES.
which undoubtedly favours the Catholic doctrine
of the eucharist, and to persuade me that I ought
to believe there is nothing in the sacrament but
bread and wine ?
You will appeal to my senses, iny eyes, my
taste, &LC. I confess, indeed, sir, that the senses of
my body discover nothing in the sacrament but
bread and wine, and that I do not see, nor taste
the flesh and blood of Christ. But, sir, Christ
tells me, blessed are they that have not seen and
have believed, John xx. 29.
I would then incline to say with St. Thomas*
Visus, tactus, gustus in te fallitur
Sed auditu solo into creditur
Credo quid quid dixit Dei filius
Nil hoc Verbo veritatis verius.
With nearly all Christendom for eighteen centu
ries, I will sooner believe the testimony of my
Divine Saviour, than the testimony of my senses ;
to speak more correctly, I am not obliged to dis
believe the testimony of my senses, for you know,
sir, that what we perceive of any thing by our
senses, is not the substance of the thing itself,
but mere accidents, such as form, colour, taste,
size. Now it is very evident that God, to whom
aothing is impossible, may very easily change
Jie substance of a thing and yet continue the ac
cidents, or cause it to make upon my senses the
A DEFENCE OF CATHOLIC PRINCIPLES. 73
same impression which it did before. This is
precisely what the Catholics believe of the eucha-
Good God! shall we say that Christ has no
other way to make his words good, and to give
us his flesh and blood, than to reach them to us
in their natural form or appearance? Humanity
shudders at the thought, and common sense natu
rally suggests the reason why that sacred food of
our souls is given us under the form of the most
simple food of the body. You will tell me, per
haps, that according to our doctrines, the body of
Christ must be present in a great many places at
the same time, which is impossible.
In answer to this objection, I refer you to the
system of the most celebrated Protestant philoso
pher, Mr. Leibnitz, who, besides many others,
from the most generally acknowledged principles
of metaphysics, and from observations made in
natural philosophy, clearly shews that this seem
ing mystery, the existence of the same body in
many places, cannot be proved impossible. But,
sir, admitting it to be impossible for a body in its
present corruptible state, can the same be said of
a glorified body, which St. Paul calls c a spiritual
body ? Can it be said especially of the glorified
body of Christ? Pray, sir, do you know any
thing at all about the nature of glorified bodies ?
I must confess I do not; and whilst we are totally
74 A DEFENCE OF CATHOLIC PRINCIPLES.
ignorant about the nature of a glorified or spiritual
body, it appears to me vain to form any opinion
about what is possible or impossible for such a
body. When I see the glorified body of Christ
passing through a door which was shut, John xx.
19, I am willing to believe, that the same body
may be present in thousands and millions of
places at once; I am willing to believe that that
same body may feed my soul, and yet continue
glorious in heaven, if such is the will of God,
although I cannot comprehend, far less explain,
how it can be.
Archbishop Cranmer owns, that Christ may be
in the bread and wine, as also in the doors that
were shut. Answer to Gardner Sc Smith, p. 454.
Melancthon says, I would rather die than af
firm that Christ s body can be but in one place.
I am sensible, sir, that human reason once
seated on the tribunal to judge of the trutli or false
hood of revealed mysteries, and guided only by
its-elf, will find a great many more objections.
But, sir, as the raging waves, after having beaten
against the majestic rock which rises from the
bottom of the sea, return in harmless froth; so
likewise will all the weak productions of human
reason, when beating against the majestic fabric
which Christ has raised.
I beg leave here to quote the testimony of three
celebrated Protestant divines in favour of the
A DEFENCE OF CATHOLIC PRINCIPLES. 75
"The adoration of the eucharist (says Mr.
Thorndike) was the practice of the ancient and
true church, before receiving, Epil. L. lii. c. 30
4 And I (says the Protestant Bishop Andrews) with
St. Ambrose, adore the flesh of Christ in the mys
teries, Andrews to Bel. ch. 8. k The external
adoration of Christ in the eucharist (says the Pro-
tesiant Bishop Forbes) is the practice of sounder
Protestants, and to deny such adoration is a mon
strous error of rigid Protestants. Forbes de
Euchar. L. 2*
* A striking difference may be observed in the style of
Protestant controvertists. Those among them who have
been deservedly ranked the first for talents, learning, and
good sense, are much more temperate in their language,
than others who, in the estimation of the public, fall far
short of them in the above qualities. In writers of the
latter class, do we so often find such expressions as : the
dogma of the real presence, is absurd: the adoration of
Christ in the sacrament is idolatrous and superstitious.
The example of wiser and better men should make them
pause before they indulge in the effusions of rashness or
malevolence. Before exposing themselves to the danger
of blaspheming that which they know not, first, they
should reflect that God can reveal nothing absurd: and,
secondly, they should fully and impartially examine the
proofs of God s having revealed the dogma which they
deride. Were our opponents to proceed thus, they would
regard the real presence as an adorable mystery, instead
of rejecting it as absurd. For, what greater evidence of
its divine revelation can be required than the authority of
the Scriptures,, the doctrine of the Apostles, the testimony
76 A DEFENCE OF CATHOLIC PRINCIPLES.
You will object, perhaps, the following words
of Christ: It is the spirit that quickeneth, the
of all ages, and the consent of all Christian nations until
the epoch of the Reformation, and even now, the Protes
tants alone excepted ? Finally, the belief of the church in
her origin, and the ages immediately succeeding, when
her doctrine is allowed to have been pure, and the impos
sibility that this dogma, if not divinely revealed, couk
have obtained so firm and constant belief, render it certain
that it must have come from Jesus Christ himself.
The following questions and answers are taken from a
German Lutheran Catechism, printed in Chambers-burg, in
1815, byJohann Herschberger, for William Warner, book
seller, of Baltimore.
Q. What is the last supper of our Lord Jesus Christ?
A. The last supper of Christ is a holy sacrament, a godly
word and sign, in which Christ gives us truly and substan
tially, with bread and wine, his body and blood, and assures
us of the forgiveness of our sins, and life everlasting.
Q. What do you receive, eat, and drink in the holy last
A. With bread and wine, I do eat and drink the truo
body and the true blood of Jesus Christ, as St. Paul says :
. The chalice which we bless, is it not the communion of
the blood of Christ? And the bread which we break, is
it not the communion of the body of Christ?* 1 Cor. x. 16.
And again, from the 5th article on the Sacrament of the
Q. What is the sacrament of the altar?
A. It is the true body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ
in the bread and wine, for us Christians to eat and drink,
instituted by Christ himself, 1 Cor. x. 16, 17, xi. 23, 29.
In both catechisms, the doctrine of the real presence is
evidently implied by the words, taken in their obvious
A DEFENCE OF CATHOLIC PRINCIPLES. 77
flesh profiteth nothing; the words that I have
spoken to you, are spirit and life, John vi. 64.
St. Augustine, who lived about fourteen hundred
years ago, explains these words in his 27th trea
tise on St. John.
What means, the flesh profits nothing (says
St. Augustine.) It profits nothing as they under
stood it ; for they understood flesh, as it is torn
in pieces in a dead body, or sold in the shambles ;
and not as it is animated by the spirit. Where
fore it is said the Jlesh profiteth nothing, in the
same manner as it is said knowledge pujfeth upS
1 Cor. viii. 1. Must we then fly from know
ledge ? God forbid. What then means knowledge
puffeth up ? That is, if it be alone without cha
rity ; therefore, the Apostle added, but charity
edifieth. Join therefore charity to knowledge,
and knowledge will be profitable, not by itself,
sense, as they ought to be, since catechetical instruction?,
being designed for the young and ignorant, and therefore,
adapted to the capacity of such, are naturally supposed to
contain the plainest exposition of what is to be believed.
Ft may, at first, appear strange, that Protestants should, in
their language, approach so near to Catholic doctrine.
The reason of this is, that our doctrine is so conformable
to Scripture, that they, though differing from us in senti
ments, yet affect to hold nearly the same language as we,
in order to avoid the palpable contradiction of their pro
fessed rule of following the Scriptures in their plain and
78 A DEFENCE OF CATHOLIC PRINCIPLES.
but through charity ; so here also the jlesh pro*
fiteth nothing, viz : the flesh alone. Let the spirit
be joined with the flesh, as charity is to be joined
with knowledge, and then it profits much. For
if the flesh profiteth nothing, the word (Christ)
would not have been made flesh, that he might
dwell in us. So far St. Augustine.
Besides jlesh and blood is often mentioned in
Scripture for the corruption of our nature, as when
it is said, flesh and blood cannot inherit the king
dom of God, 1 Cor. xv. 50 ; and flesh and blood
hath not revealed it unto thee, Matt. xvi. 17.
And in this sense the flesh profiteth nothing to
discover and firmly believe what Christ an
nounces ; but it is the spirit and grace of God
that quickeneth and giveth life to our souls, by
inspiring us with a full assent and obedience to
divine revelation. Faith is undoubtedly a gift of
heaven, and that we may not be deterred by our
corrupted reason and senses from believing divine
mysteries, we need the light and assistance of
God himself. This our Divine Saviour plainly
declares in these words : therefore did I say to
you, that no man can come to me, unless it be
given him by my Father. John vi. 66. So that the
foregoing words the flesh profiteth nothing, rather
.-suppose and confirm the truth of the real presence.
But God forbid that we should say the flesh of
"Christ profits nothing, this would be a blasphemy,
A DEFENCE OF CATHOLIC PRINCIPLES. 79
and it is evident, that Christ asserting that flesh
profits nothing, did not mean his flesh, for this
would be contradicting his own assertion, my
; flesh is meat indeed.
Our doctrine on the eucharist is further con-
firmed by the ancient figures or types of that
sacrament; they were manifold. I shall notice
only three of them, viz : the Paschal Lamb, the
Blood of the Testament, and the Manna.
1. The Paschal Lamb. That this was a figure
of Christ, the Lamb of God, is acknowledged on
all hands. The Paschal Lamb was killed at the
going out of the land of Egypt on the journey to
the land of promise.
The Lamb of God is killed, and we are deli
vered from a more than Egyptian darkness, and in
troduced into the road to the real land of promise.
The Paschal Lamb is eaten, Exod. xii. 8; so
likewise must the Lamb of God be eaten to ac
complish the figure. The Paschal Lamb had no
blemish, Exod. xii. 5 ; the Lamb of God is pure
and immacculate by excellence. The blood of
the Paschal Lamb was a sign of salvation, Exod.
xii. 13. The blood of the Lamb of God is salva
tion itself. The sacrament of the eucharist was
instituted by our Saviour immediately after eating
the Paschal Lamb with his disciples ; the figure
\\as then accomplished, and the substance sub
stituted for the figure.
SO A DEFENCE OF CATHOLIC PRLNCIPLES.
2. That the Blood of the Testament, the blood
of victims solemnly sacrificed to God, was a figure
of the blood of Christ in the sacrament, appears
evident from the words of Christ in administering
that sacred blood.
Moses said to the people, This is the Blood of
the Testament, which God hath enjoined to you,
Exod. xxiv. 8. and Heb. ix. 20.
Jesus Christ said to his disciples, This is rny
Blood of the New Testament, &c. Matt. xxvi. 26.
3. That Manna was a figure of the sacrament
of the flesh and blood of Christ, appears from
John vi. 58, Your fathers did eat Manna and
are dead ; he that eateth of this bread shall live
for ever. Likewise from 1 Cor. x. 3.
Manna came from the Lord, Exod. xvi. 15 ; the
holy eucharist is also given by our Lord and
Saviour, Matt. xxvi.
Manna was given to the Israelites as their food
during the whole time of their journey through
the desert until they reached the land of promise.
The holy eucharist is given to us as the spiri
tual food and nourishment of our souls, during
the whole time of our mortal pilgrimage, until we
reach the true land of promise, our heavenly
home. We cannot believe, dear sir, that the
figure is better than the thing it represents ; St.
Paul tells us on the contrary, that the old law
had nothing but a shadow of good things io ^amc.
/L DEFENCE OF CATHOLIC PRINCIPLES. 81
Heb. 10. That all its sacrifices and sacraments
were but weak and beggarly elements] Galat. iv. 9.
And that it was annulled, by reason of its weak
ness and unprofitableness] Heb. vii. 18.
Now, sir, if the sacrament of the Lord s supper
is nothing but bread and wine, it is evident that
the figure (manna) is far better than the thing
prefigured ; for manna comes from heaven ; bread
comes from the baker s oven.
Manna had a very pleasant taste, and was in
many respects miraculous ; our bread is a common
and natural food.
I have said enough, I think, to convince you,
dear sir, that we are not guilty of superstition in
believing as we do, on the subject of the holy
eucharist, and that our belief on that subject is
founded on the plainest words of divine revela
tion, and not contradicted by reason : add to this,
that it is supported by the greatest authority on
Admitting for a while, that the words of Christ
were not very plain, or were susceptible of diffe
rent interpretations, where are we to apply in
order to know with certainty the true sense of
the words ? Are we to adopt the sentiments of
any of the Reformers ? If so, which are we to
select for our guide ? Luther held that the bread
is the body of Christ ; Osiander, that the bread is
one an-" 1 the same person with Christ ; Calvin,
82 A DEFENCE OF CATHOLIC PRINCIPLES.
Zuinglius, &c. that it is only a figure of the body
of Christ. Nay, so far did this diversity of opi
nions go, that after little more than half a century
from the commencement of the Reformation, con-
trovertists counted not less than two hundred
different interpretations of the words, this is my
body. The numerous sects of the present day,
are not less at variance with one another, with
respect to this point. What other effect then can
such contrariety of belief have, than to bring more
strongly to our recollection that observation of
Tertullian It is natural for error to be ever
changing. But Christ tells us to apply to the
church which he has provided with the unerring
light of truth for ever. This holy church com
mands us to believe that in the eucharist, as given
by Christ at the last supper, and as consecrated
since by legally ordained ministers, are really
contained the flesh and blood, the soul and divi
nity of Jesus Christ Christ, God and man,
Council of Trent, de Euchar. Sacram. Sess. 13, c.
The words used by the confession of Augsburgh
seem to convey the very same idea. The true
body and blood of Jesus Christ are truly present
under the form of bread and wine in the Lord s
supper, and are there given and received.
Were we t : judge from the approved catechisms
of several Protestant sects, they would seem to
A DEFENCE OF CATHOLIC PRINCIPLES. S3
hold the same doctrine. The church of England
in her catechism, declares that, the body and
blood of Christ are verily and indeed taken anc
received by the faithful in the Lord s supper.
A seemingly weighty objection against the rea
presence of Christ in the eucharist is found in the
following words of our Saviour : do this for a
commemoration of me, Luc. xxii.19; and in the
words of St. Paul, as often as you shall eat, &c.
and drink, &c. you shall shew the death of the
Lord until he come, 1 Cor. xi. 26.
We do not understand how those words can be
considered as excluding the real presence of Christ.
Whilst man is in his present state of imperfection,
carnal, weak, under the influence of his senses, of
his imagination, and of so many passions, he is
very apt, even whilst engaged in the most solemn
of all duties, saying his prayers, or celebrating the
divine mysteries, to forget himself, and to perform
those duties, through habit, mechanically, and of
course, without benefit to himself.
Christ, the subject of our adoration, not being
visible in the eucharist, our attention may be very
easily diverted from him by objects affecting our
senses or imaginations, &c. at the very time we
celebrate those mysteries. In order to guard us
against that misfortune, we are particularly com
manded to direct our attention to our Divine
Saviour, to his death upon the cross ; we are not
84 A DEFENCE OF CATHOLIC PRINCIPLES.
to receive his flesh and blood mechanically, but,
whilst we receive them, to remember the infinite
love of Jesus Christ in immolating that sacred
flesh and blood for our salvation, and in feeding
our souls with the same.
The command then to remember the death of
Christ when we celebrate and receive the Lord s
supper so far from excluding the real presence of
Christ, is rather founded upon it.
Having now explained to you, dear sir, the doc
trine of the Catholic Church concerning the
blessed eucharist, this leads me naturally to the
explanation of the sacrifice of the mass.
THE SACRIFICE OF THE MASS.
IT is in the mass the holy eucharist is conse
crated. The main objection against this sacrifice
is its being considered a second sacrifice, whereas
it is acknowledged by all Christians that the sacri
fice of the cross, in which Jesus Christ immolated
himself for the salvation of our souls, is the only
sacrifice of the new law, and a very sufficient
one, as by it, and by it alone, the redemption of
man M r as consummated and God s justice satisfied.
The objection arises from a misunderstanding
A DEFENCE OF CATHOLIC PRINCIPLES. 85
The mass so far from being a second sacrifice is
only a continuation, and at the same time, a com
memoration, of the great sacrifice of the cross.
Do this in commemoration of me, says Christ
at the last supper to his Apostles, and, of course,
to their successors. It is in the mass, dear sir,
that this precept of Christ is fulfilled, it is there
the bread and wine are consecrated, and by con
secration, changed into the body and blood of
Christ. In this consecration the blood is mysti
cally separated from the body, as Jesus Christ did
separately consecrate the bread into his body, and
the wine into his blood, which includes a striking
representation and commemoration of that real
and violent separation, which took place upon the
By this consecration, as I have shown before,
Jesus Christ becomes really present upon the altai,
under those signs or forms, which represent his
Now Jesus Christ being present in the euoha-
rist, by virtue of the consecration which he him
self appointed, presents himself, (says St. Paul,)
and appears for us, before the face of God, Neb.
ix. 24. Here then is a continuation of the great
sacrifice of the cross; here Jesus Christ continues
to present to his heavenly Father the merits of
his passion and death*, he perpetuates the memory
of his obedience, even to the death of the cross.
S6 A DEFENCE OF CATHOLIC PRINCIPLES.
which includes an acknowledgment of God ? su
preme dominion; of course here is a true and
real sacrifice, and yet not a second sacrifice, hui
only a continuation of the great sacrifice of the
cross. Thus the prophecy of Malachias is ful
filled; for from the rising of the sun, even to the
going down, my name is great among the Gen
tiles: and in every place there is sacrifice, and
there is offered to my name a clean oblation, 1 &c.
Malach. i. 11.
The sacrifice here alluded to cannot he that
offered on Mount Calvary on the cross, as that
was only offered in one place, of course, it must
he the holy sacrifice of the mass ; because this is
offered in almost every part of the globe, and be
cause Jesus Christ, who there perpetuates the
memory of his passion and death, is the only one
that can ofler a clean oblation to God.
When we consider what Jesus Christ operates
in this mystery; when by faith we behold him
actually present with these signs of death, we
unite ourselves to him in this state; we offer him
to God as our only victim, and as the only one,
who, by his blood, can merit for us mercy; pro
testing, at the same time, that we have nothing to
offer up to God but Jesus Christ, and the infinite
merits of his death. We consecrate all our
prayers by this sacred offering, and, in presenting
Jesus Christ to God, we are taught to offer up
A DEFENCE OF CATHOLIC PRINCIPLES. S7
ourselves also in him and by him to his Divine
Majesty, as so many living victims. Pray, dear
sir, does this doctrine savour of superstition.
Here then is the great sacrifice of Christians,
differing widely from that, which was in use in
the old law, a spiritual sacrifice, and worthy the
new covenant; where the victim, though present,
is perceptible only by faith; where the immolating
sword is the word, which mystically separates the
body from the blood; where the shedding of the
blood is of course but mystical, and where death
intervenes but in representation : a most real sacri
fice, however, inasmuch as Jesus Christ is truly
contained in it, and presented to his Father undei
these symbols of death. But still a sacrifice of
commemoration, which, far from withdrawing us,
as is objected, from the sacrifice of the cross, at
taches us to it, by all its circumstances, since the
former is not only totally referred to the latter,
but in fact has no existence, except by this rela
tion, from which its efficacy is entirely derived.
Such is the express doctrine of the Council of
Trent, which teaches that this sacrifice was insti
tuted only to represent that which was once
offered upon the cross ; to perpetuate the memory
of it to the end of time; and to apply its saving
virtue to us, for the remission of those sins which
we every day commit, Sess. 22, c. 1. The
church, then, far from believing the sacrifice of
88 A DEFENCE OF CATHOLIC PRINCIPLES.
the cross to be by any means defective, is, on the
contrary, so convinced of its perfection, that it
looks upon every thing done in consequence, as
intended merely to commemorate it, and apply its
We believe then, the holy sacrifice of the mass
to be the greatest act of religion that can be per
formed, the only one perfectly worthy of God, as
in that sacrifice Jesus Christ, equal to his Father,
is both the high priest and the victim: he is the
high priest, inasmuch as he immolates and offers
up the victim, which is himself, to his Eternal
Father, he is the high priest for ever according
to the order of Melchisedech, Ps. cix. 4.
For ever, because although he immolated him
self but once in a bloody manner, yet in the mass
he perpetuates this sacrifice day after day in an
unbloody and mystical manner. According to the
order of Melchisedech, because c as Melchisedech
brought forth bread and wine, for lie was the
priest of the most high God, Gen. xiv. 18. So
does Christ the high priest of the new covenant
bring forth bread and wine, and having by his
omnipotence changed them into his flesh and
blood, continues under those forms of bread and
wine to offer himself up, to present to his hea
venly Father the merits of his passion and death,
and likewise under these forms to feed and nourish
the souls of men.
A DEFENCE OF CATHOLIC PRINCIPLES. 89
Whoever is in the least versed in the history of
the church and the writings of the holy fathers,
will readily acknowledge, that the mass was al
ways considered as the great sacrifice of the new
covenant, and that the practice of celebrating
mass is as ancient as Christianity.
In all the liturgies of the ancient churches, we
trace the words, sacrifice, immolation, altar, priest
hood, host, victim, namely Christ really present;
and consequently, all the conditions of a true and
perfect sacrifice. Now, the liturgies exhibit to us
the belief of the whole church, even in the first
ages, since they are themselves very ancient.
They are ascribed to St. James, St. Mark, St. Basil,
and St. Chrysostom, and have been carefully pre
served, not only by the Latins and Greeks, but
also by the Nestorians, Eutychians, &c. who de
parted from the church 1400 years ago.
It is the same with the holy fathers. St. Ire-
naus, bishop of Lyons, in the second century, says :
Christ took that which is naturally bread, and
gave thanks, saying, this is my body, and he
taught the new oblation of the new covenant,
which the church receiving from the Apostles,
every where presents to God. This Malachias
had foretold, &c. Ad. Ilaer. lib. iv. cap. 23. In
the third century, St. Cyprian, bishop of Car
thage, says : who is the priest of the Most High
in a more perfect manner, than our Lord, who
90 A DEFENCE OF CATHOLIC PRINCIPLES.
offered a sacrifice to God, and offered the same
that had been offered by Melchisedech, namely,
bread and wine, that is, his body and blood ?
Epist. 68 ad Caecilium.
In the fourth century, St. Cyril of Jerusalem.
says: when we offer the sacrifice, we pray for
our departed brethren; believing that their souls
receive much assistance from the awful sacrifice
of our altars, Catech. 5.
St. Chrysostom, bishop of Constantinople, says :
the wise men worshipped him in the manger,
thou seest him not in the manger, but on the altar,
&c. in 1 Cor.
Again, from its being offered in many places,
are there then many Christs ? No: for as he
who is every where offered is one body, and not
many bodies, so the sacrifice is one, Horn. 17, in
Hebr. In the same age, St. Ambrose says : when
we sacrifice, Christ is present, 5 in Cap. 1 Luc.
St. Augustine of the fifth age, says : when now
we see this sacrifice offered to God in every place
by the priesthood of Christ, according to the order
of Melchisedech. and the Jews sacrifice cease, why
do they yet expect another Christ ? De Civitate
Dei, c. 35. And in book ix. of his Confessions.
c. 3, he tells us, his mother Monica desired on her
death-bed, to be remembered at the altar, where
she knew the holy sacrifice to be offered, where
with the indictment against us was blotted out.
A DEFENCE OF CATHOLIC PRINCIPLES.
In another place he says : Christ is at the same
time both the priest that offers, and the host (01
victim) which is offered ; and he would that the
sacrifice which the church daily offers, should be
the sacrament and the representation of this mys
tery; because the church being the body of that
Divine Head, it offers itself by him. All these
holy fathers and bishops of the church lived some
1100, some 1200 years before the pretended Re
formation-, at a time when even the most learned
Protestants own that the church of Christ had not
yet gone astray. In the sixth age, that is, about
1000 years before the Reformation, St. Gregory
the Great, by whose means England was con
verted, has the following remarkable words, in a
sermon which he preached on Christmas day:
^whereas by the grace of God, we shall this day
celebrate mass three times, we cannot speak very
long on the gospel, Homil. 8. in Evangel.
Such was the practice of the church 1300 years
ago, and such is the practice of the church at
present in 1815;* on Christmas day every priest
celebrates mass three times.
If then, dear sir, we are guilty <>f superstition
in celebrating mass, and believing as we do of the
mass, it is a great comfort to us to lind, that our
superstition is no other than that, of which were
guilty all the holiest and wisest bishops of the
liZ A DEFENCE OF CATHOLIC PRINCIPLES
most remote antiquity. It is a great comfort to
us to know, that the church had already existed
more than 1500 years before it was found out,
that to celebrate mass and to believe that Christ
is really present in the eucharist, are superstitious
practices and doctrines.
Before I conclude this important subject, I
should not omit explaining the practice of the
Catholic Church of giving communion under one
kind or form.
COMMUNION UNDER ONE KIND OK FORM.
UPON this head we are accused of depriving the
laity of an essential part of the sacrament.
From the moment, dear sir, the real presence
of Christ in the eucharist is admitted, there can
exist no difference on this subject. It must be a
matter of perfect indifference whether we receive
the holy communion under one or both kinds.*
* If the precept of Christ, drink ye all ot this, regard
not the Apostles only, who alone were present, and were
then ordained priests, for offering, under both kinds, this
holy sacrifice, which was to be continued by their lawful
successors, but be extended to ail persons indifferently,
the absurd consequence will IK--, that all are priests
A DEFENCE OF CATHOLIC PRINCIPLES. 93
Christ rising from the dead, says St. Paul,
diethno more, Rom. vi. 9. Consequently wherever
Christ is, there also is Christ s body ; wherever
the flesh of Christ is, there also is his blood, his
soul and divinity ; and where his blood is, there
is also his flesh, &c. To say that Christ is
divided between the two kinds or forms, so as for
one form to contain the one-half, and for the
other form to contain the other half of Christ,
would be impious. But it is said, that in giving
communion under one kind, and depriving lay
people of the chalice, we transgress the command
ment of Christ, who, at the last supper said, drink
ye all of this, &c. &c.
In answer to this, we say, that Christ only
Moreover, did we Catholics hold the mere figurative sys
tem, we could not deny that there would be some reason
for receiving the liquid as well as the solid substance, as
the former may appear to represent more aptly the blood,
and the latter the body. But believing as we do, Christ
to be really present, we believe that he is equally and en
tirely present under each species, and consequently, is
equally and entirely given to the faithful, whichever they
receive. The Catholic clergy, far from thinking that they
wrong the laity by withholding the cup, always act con
formably to this belief. Hence, when any ol them are
prevented by corporal infirmity, or any other cause, from
offering the holy sacrifice, and wish to communicate, they
receive under one kind. The same is observed at the
hour of death, when the viaticum is always administered
under one kind to the clergy as well as to the laity.
94 A DEFENCE OF CATHOLIC PRINCIPLES.
spoke to his Apostles, as it is certain that none,
were present at the last supper but they. The
precept then was directed to the Apostles, in obe
dience to which they and their successors to this
day, when they celebrate the holy mysteries,
always receive under both kinds.
St. Paul very clearly states that communion
may be validly received under either kind alone ;
Wherefore, whosoever shall eat this bread, or
drink the chalice of the Lord unworthily, &c.
1 Cor. xi. 27. I know, dear sir, that your Pro
testant translations say eat and drink, instead of
eat or drink; but if you compare the Catholic
translation with the genuine original Greek, you
will find it correct. The sufficiency of one kind
in the holy communion is clearly acknowledged
by the Calvinists of France in two of their synods.
The Synod of Poiters, held A. D. 1560, has the
following words :
The bread of the Lord s supper ought to be
administered to those who cannot drink wine,
upon their making a protestation that it is not out
of contempt, when they also obviate all scandal
by bringing the cup as near to their mouth as they
possibly can, Synod of Poiters, chap. 12, article
7th of the Lord s supper.
The same was again approved and confirmed
by the Synod of La Rochelle, A. D. 1571.
After all I have said, dear sir, you will con-
A DEFENCE OF CATHOLIC PRINCIPLES. 95
ceive that Catholics are not guilty of superstition
in believing as they do on the subject of the
Lord s supper and the mass.
They are compelled to believe so by the com
bined weight of heavenly ard earthly authority,
which overrules the dictates and judgment of our
corrupted senses, and of our weak and limited
reason ; and to all the arguments of human reason,
or if you choose, philosophy, we answer with St.
Paul, Our faith does not stand on the wisdom of
man, but on the power of God, 1 Cor. ii. 5.
I must confess that I am less surprised to see a
person (with the Socinians) rejecting all mysteries,
than to see him admit one and reject another,
though the latter is perhaps more clearly ex
pressed in the written word than the former.
Although I detest the impiety of the Socinian,
yet I cannot but acknowledge his consistency ,
arid should I ever have the misfortune (which
God in his tender mercy forbid) to forsake the
unerring guide, which now overawes and silences
my reason into perfect submission, and should I
ever become so much Minded by a more than
diabolical pride, as to make my limited and cor
rupted reason the sole arbiter of my faith, 1 think
it would suggest to me the rejection of all myste
ries, of every thing incomprehensible to that rea
son, and thus lead me at once into the paths of
Soeinianism. The same reason that would suggest
96 A DEFENCE OF CATHOLIC PRINCIPLES.
to me the absurdity of eating the flesh of Christ,
would likewise suggest the absurdity of three
distinct persons in the divinity, which is essen
If you cast your eyes around you, (without
traveling many miles from home,) do you not
see, in many respectable members of society, the
deplorable consequences of trusting to the light
of reason, and refusing submission to unerring
authority ? Do you not perceive in many of
those, whose reason has been developed by a
liberal education, a perfect indifference, (if not a
kind of contempt,) for the mysteries in general,
and even in particular for those very mysteries,
which by all societies are considered the funda
mental principles of Christianity ? In proportion
as the powers of their understanding have been
improved, they seem to have acquired a greatei
right to set up their reason as a judge over the
divine mysteries, and thus to abuse the noblest
gift of God to purposes of impiety.
The whole system of the Christian religion ;
the greatest of all the works of God, one and
indivisible, must be believed in the whole and in
all its parts ; neither does it require less impiety
to reject one part of that divine system known to
be revealed by Jesus Christ, than to reject the
whole. Now, sir, from what you see, I mean the
rejection both in principle and practice, of so
A DEFENCE OF CATHOLIC PRINCIPLES. 97
many mysteries among Protestants, and this is
only a natural consequence of making limited
reason the arbiter of faith ; how long, do you
suppose, will it be until faith will be entirely
extinct? Will the present generation of children,
after coming to the age of maturity, remember
that their parents were Christians ? Will the
next generation even enjoy the benefit of bap
tism ? I am acquainted with many youths of both
sexes, who, although born of Protestant parents,
never received the benefit of baptism. Why so ?
Because their Protestant parents, guided by the
light of reason, could not see into the necessity
of baptism, and thus probably judged it an idle
ceremony. Thus is the child s eternal fate left to
rest on the private opinions of their parents on
religious mysteries, as if our merciful God had
left us in a state of uncertainty, in those matters
principally, in which certainty is absolutely ne
After this digression, which a sincere zeal for
the salvation of souls has occasioned, I shall con
tinue to explain a few remaining articles of
Catholic faith. Having explained the Catholic
doctrine of the mass, this leads me to the Catholic
doctrine of purgatory and prayers for the dead.
98 A DEFENCE OF CATHOLIC PRINCIPLES.
PURGATORY AND PRAYERS FOR THE DEAD
WHAT has induced the gentlemen of the pre
tended Reformation, to discard purgatory from
their creed, and to renounce the practice of pray
ing for the deceased, I am at a loss to know. To
any man of information, it must be notorious,
that the belief and the practice are older than
Christianity, almost universal, and far from being
impervious to human reason, must, upon a candid
examination, meet the approbation of reason.
The Catholic Church, the supreme tribunal of
our faith, teaches that there is a purgatory, a place
of temporal punishment after death, and that the
souls therein detained are helped by the prayers
of the faithful, and especially by the holy sacri
fice of the mass, Concil. Trident. Sess. 25, De-
cret. de Purg. This decree of the church, assem
bled in general council, is sufficient for a Catholic
to regulate his faith on the present subject, and to
convince him fully of the existence of a purga
tory, and of the usefulness of prayers for the
dead. Still it is a satisfaction to a Catholic, al
ready convinced by the authority of the church,
to find that even the plain words of Scripture, and
the plainest dictates of reason, are in perfect uni
son with the declaration of the church Long
A DEFENCE OF CATHOLIC PRINCIPLES. 99
before the coming of Christ, the people of God
prayed and offered sacrifice for the dead. Witness
the collection of money made by Judas Maccha-
baeus, the defender of God s sanctuary; and
making a gathering, he sent twelve thousand
drachms of silver to Jerusalem for sacrifice to be
offered for the sins of the dead, thinking well and
religiously concerning the resurrection it is there
fore a holy and wholesome thought to pray for
the dead, that they may be loosed from sins,
2 Maccab. xii. 43 46. I know that Protestants
reject the Macchabees. But you will permit
me to observe that this rejection, made by
modern Reformers, can bear no weight, when
made in opposition to all antiquity, in opposition
to the universal church, the only one extant at
the time of the pretended Reformation.
In the earliest ages of Christianity we find the
holy fathers quoting the Macchabees, as well as
other Scriptures. Witness St. Clement of Alexan
dria, lib. 6, Stromaf.; Origcn, lib. 2, de Princi-
piis, cap. 1 ; St. Cyprian, lib. de Exhortatione
Martyrii; St. Jerom, cap. 23; IsaL; St. Augus
tine, lib. 8, de Civltate Dei, cap. 36. St. Isidore
Hispalensis says, the Books of the Macchabees,
although separated by the Hebrews as Apocrypha,
are by the church of Christ honoured, and pro
claimed as Divine books, lib. 6. The General
| COLC CHRIST! REGIS SI
100 A DEFENCE OF CATHOLIC PRINCIPLES.
Council of Trent, Sess. 4, declares the two Mac-
chabees to be Divine books.*
The belief of a middle state is supported by
many other texts of the Old and New Testaments.
Thou also by the blood of thy testament, has
sent forth thy prisoners out of the pit, wherein is
no water, Zach. ix. 11.
That pit cannot be hell, as out of hell there is
* The Council of Trent, in defining the Divine Inspira
tion of those books, has only followed the constant and
unanimous tradition of the church, and the examples of
other councils, some of which were even general. For
those books had been reckoned among the sacred writings
by the General Council of Florence, held in 1439, under
Eugenius IV.; by a council of seventy bishops, held in
Rome in 494, under Pope Gelasius; by Pope St. Inno
cent I. in his famous epistles, written in 405, to St. Exu-
perius, bishop of Tholouse ; by the third Council of Car
thage, held in 397, at which St. Augustin assisted; by St.
Augustin himself, in his work on Christian Doctrine, book
xxii. chap. 23, and in the City of God, book xviii. chap
36 ; in a word, by many other fathers.
The Books of Mac.chabees must be allowed, even by
those who do not receive them as canonical, to be, at least,
authentic records; as such, then, they oear undeniable
testimony of the belief and practice of the Jews of the
present day, who, surely, have not borrowed them from
Catholics. Seeing, then, the doctrine ot purgatory and
praying for the dead to have been held by God s people
150 years before Christ, what are we to think of the can-
dour of those who assert it to be an invention of the dark-
A DEFENCE OF CATHOLIC PRINCIPLES. 101
no redemption. Consequently it must be a place
of temporal punishment from which redemption
is had by the blood of the testament.
Every man s work shall be made manifest : for
the Lord shall be revealed by fire : and the fire
shall try every man s work, of what sort it is. If
any man s work abide, which he has built there
upon, he shall receive a reward. If any man s work
hum, he shall suffer loss : but he himself shall
be saved, yet so as by fire, 1 Cor. iii. 13. 14. 15.
This text hardly requires any comment. From
it appears plainly, that although the works of
man have been substantially good, and pleasing
to Almighty God, yet on account of many defor
mities, the effects of human frailty and corruption,
man must be cleansed by a purging and punishing,
yet saving fire, before he can be admitted into
that sanctuary; into which nothing defiled can
enter, Apocalypse xxi. 27. But I say unto you,
that every idle word that men shall speak, they
shall render an account for it, in the day of judg
ment, Matt. xii. 36. Dear sir, you will hardly
say that every idle word will consign man to the
everlasting punishments of hell ! If so, who will
be saved? There must then be some temporal
punishments prepared after this life for trifling
faults, which we call venial sins.
According to the same Evangelist there are sins
that shall not be forgiven neither in this world
102 A DEFEXCE OF CATHOLIC PRINCIPLES.
nor in the world to come, Matt. xii. 32. Does
not this intimate that some sins may be atoned
for in the world to come ?
Make an agreement with thy adversary quickly,
whilst thou art in the way with him : lest perhaps
the adversary deliver thee to the judge, and the
judge deliver thee to the officer, and thou be cast
into prison. Amen I say to thee, thou shalt not
go out from thence, until thou pay the last far
thing, Matt. v. 25, 26.
The last text I am going to quote, establishes
the doctrine of a third place so very plainly, that
it appears strange how it can be misunderstood.
Christ also died once, for our sins, the just for
the unjust, that he might offer us to God, being
put to death indeed in the flesh, but brought to
life by the spirit, in which also he came and
preached to those spirits who were in prison :
who in time past had been incredulous, when
they waited for the patience of God, in the days
of Noe, when the ark was building, &c. 1 Peter
iii. 18, 19, 20.
It will hardly be supposed that Christ preached
to the damned spirits in hell, as it is acknowledged
on all hands, I believe, that there is no redemption
for them. How then can the above text be under
stood, unless by admitting a place of temporal
punishment, in which were confined those, who,
in the time of Noah, were incredulous, and who
A DEFENCE OF CATHOLIC PRINCIPLES. 1U3
had riot fully satisfied the justice of God before
departing this life.
The doctrine of the existence of a third place
is founded on the belief, that very often, after the
guilt and the eternal punishment are taken away
by the mercy of God, upon the sinner s sincere
repentance, there still remains, on account of the
defects of that repentance, something due to the
infinite justice of God, something to be expiated
either in this world or in the next. Nothing in
deed can be more clearly established in Scripture.
Adam was cast out of the earthly paradise,
himself and all his posterity punished with death
and many miseries, after his sin of disobedience
had been forgiven, and his right to heaven re
stored to him.
David was punished .with the death of his child,
after his enormous crimes were forgiven, after his
sincere repentance. 2 Kings c. xii. C O king, saith
Daniel to Nabuchodonosor, redeem thy sins with
alms. Dan. c. iv. 24.
If temporal punishments have often been in
dicted by the justice of God, after the guilt and
the everlasting punishments were remitted, it fol
lows of course, that if the person die before he
iras suffered that temporal punishment, he dies
chat much indebted to God s justice, and must
undoubtedly discharge that debt before he can
enter into heaven.
104 A DEFENCE OF CAl-^LIC PRINCIPLES.
The writings of the holy fathers of both the
eastern and the western church, most clearly
prove that from the earliest dawn of Christianity,
the belief of a purgatory was general in the
church. Tertullian, who lived in the second age,
says, No man will doubt but that the soul doth
recompense something in the places below, Lib.
tie Anima c. 58.
And again, in his book de Corona Militis, we
make yearly oblations for the dead.
St. Clement in the same age tells us, St. Peter
taught them, among other works of mercy, to
bury the dead, and diligently perform their funeral
rites, and also to pray and give alms for them,
. Epist. 1, de S. Petro.
In the third age, St. Cyprian says, It is one
thing to be cast into prison, and not to go out
thence till he pay the last farthing ; another, pre
sently to receive the reward of faith ; one thing
to be afflicted with pains for sins to be expiated,
and purged long with fire ; another, to have
purged all sins by Bufferings, Epis. 52, ad Antone.
In the same age Origen says, though a release-
rnpnt out of prison be promised, St. Matt, v, yet
it is signified, that none can get out from thence,
but he who pays the last farthing. In Epist. ad
Roman, and Horn. 35, in St. Luc.
In the fourth age, St. Ambrose, But whereas St.
Paul says, yet so as by fire, he shows indeed thai
A DEFENCE OF CATHOLIC PRINCIPLES. 103
he shall be saved, but yet shall suffer the punish
ment of fire, he may be saved, and not tormented
for ever, as the infidels are with everlasting fire,
Cap. 3, Epis. ad Cor.
In the same age, this is that (says St. Jerome)
which he saith, thou shalt not go out of prison,
till thou shalt have paid for even thy little sins,
C. v. Matt.
In the same age, St. Cyril of Jerusalem says :
We beseech God for all those who have died
before us, believing the obsecration of that holy
and dreadful sacrifice, which is put on the altar,
to be the greatest help of the souls for which it is
offered, Catech. Mystagog. 5.
Again, in the same age, St. John Chrysostom.
says, these things were not in vain ordained by
the Apostles, that in the venerable and dreadful
mysteries, the mass, there should be made a me
mory of those who have departed this life; they
knew much benefit would hence accrue to them,
F-Iomil. 3, in Epist. ad Philip. Jt would fill vo
lumes to quote all those passages from the holy
fathers which prove the belief in a third place,
and prayers for the dead, to be coeval with Chris
tianity. Those whom I have quoted lived twelve,
thirteen and fourteen centuries before the pre
tended Reformation, and were of course better
judges of genuine apostolical tradition than thr
late Reformers could be.
106 A DEFENCE OF CATHOLIC PRINCIPLES.
If these holy and learned doctors, some ol
tvhom were the immediate successors of the Apos-
tles, did not think themselves guilty of supersti
tion in praying for the dead, but declared that in
doing so, they followed and obeyed the ordi
nances of the Apostles; neither are we guilty of
superstition in believing and doing as they did.
An objection against purgatory is found in the
following words of Scripture : If the tree fall to
the south, or to the north, in what place soever it
shall fall, there it shall be, Eccles. xi. 3.
Admitting that the Scripture here speaks of the
soul after death, which indeed is highly probable,
how does this make against purgatory?
We believe, that there are only two eternal
states after death, viz. the state of glory and the
state of damnation. If the soul departs in the
state of grace, it shall be for ever in that state,
although it may have some venial sins to satisfy
for, which may for a while retard the consumma
tion of its happiness. If it dies in the state of
mortal sin, and an enemy of God, it shall be ever
in torments. Here are two everlasting states,
which may be meant by the north and south of
the above text. This is the interpretation, of 5t,
Jerome, St. Gregory Pope, St. Bernard, St. Tho
mas, &c. It is besides so satisfactory that it its
surprising that Protestants, instead of -admitting it,
vainly endeavour to discover in the text the mm-
A DEFENCE OF CATHOLIC PRINCIPLES. ID?
existence of purgatory. How any one can see in
it the exclusion of our doctrine, I cannot conceive.
I shall now undertake to prove, that the belief
in a place of temporal punishment, after death, far
from being unreasonable, is perfectly agreeable to
the dictates of sound reason, and here I shall bor
row the words of the Philosophical Catechism,
Art. vii. sect. 4, N. 480.
Here is what a Christian orator and philosopher
might say : the soul of man ceasing to dwell upon
earth, is summoned to appear before the tribunal
of God; his works and virtues speak for him;
the law, which he has religiously observed, stands
up in his defence to get him crowned in the as
sembly of the saints. A slight transgression, a
foible hardly perceptible, a small failing, insepara
ble from mortal nature, is perceived in a crowd
of meritorious deeds. You, who acknowledge a
just God, who adore a merciful God, and yet a
God inimical to all iniquity, incapable by nature
of admitting into his abode any thing sullied with
guilt: say, what is to be the fate of this soul,
righteous indeed, though stained with sin ; a friend
to God, yet bearing in its bosom an enemy to
God ? Shall its sins be placed along with its vir
tues ? Its weakness and its fortitude be crowned
alike? Its Christian works confounded with the
works of natural frailty ? No, you will never
"think it; n^r have even the adversaries of tkf
108 A DEFENCE OF CATHOLIC PRmCIPLES.
tenet of purgatory ever ventured to say it openly.
But, must this unfortunate soul be eternally re
proved without mercy or resource ? Shall the
purity of its faith, the liveliness of its hope, the
good works without number or measure it has
performed, plead for it in vain ? Far be it from u.s
to think it. By thinking so, we should attack the
infinite excellence and perfections of the sovereign
Lord of this world. No ; never will God rank
in the same category, inadvertence and malice, a
distraction in prayer and the total neglect of it, an
officious lie and a detestable perjury, the man with
a few blemishes, and the miscreant sunk over head
and ears in profligacy ; he will purify the one and
reprobate the other ; he is at once the God of all
justice, and the God of all sanctity. A holy
soul, but sullied by a stain, shall not enter hi*
mansion, because he is the God of sanctity, and
yet shall enter, because he is the God of justice,
He, therefore, will reform it, will complete the
lustre of its virtues, establish the purity of its
works, and then will place it in his glory. There
is the solid foundation of the belief of a purga
tory, and such is the conclusion we are to draw
from the incontestable attributes of our Judge ?,nd
our God. Hence it is that of all the tenets oi
the Catholic Church, the most widely diffused,
and the most generally admitted, is the tenet of
purgatory. The knowledge of a God, both just
A DLFEiNCE OF CATHOLIC PRINCIPLES 109
and holy, has united the most inimical religions,
and the most opposite to one another, in the be
lief of a purgatory, that is, of a certain delay put
to the eternal reward, during which the just man
is still more sanctified ; an offended God does not
damn, for venial sins, because his wrath does not
extend to the offender s death, nor a remunerating
God confer his rewards immediately, because his
liberality is restrained by the faults of a just yet
guilty man. This the sages of antiquity have
taught in their books, Plato and Timaeo; this the
profane, but sublime, poets have sung in their
hymns, Virgil s ^nedi, L. vi. v. 730 ; this the na
tions, misled by Mahomet, profess in their Alco
ran ; in this the Hebrews, both ancient and modern,
agree with the Christians ; and the Greeks, severed
from the church by a long and obstinate schism,
pray for the dead.
Here then is the greatest part of mankind, all
that believe in revelation, except those who follow
our late Reformers, and numbers of those wh
are guided by reason alone, agreed in the belit
of a place of temporal punishment, and in th
practice of praying for the dead.
If then the Protestant continues to assert th.
lie cannot find either purgatory or the practice ot
praying for the dead in Scripture, the Catholic
Church answer, that they find both the doctrine
and the practice very clearly in Holy Scripture
110 A DEFENCE OF CATHOLIC PRINCIPLES.
If the Protestant peremptorily decides, that the
belief in purgatory is absurd, and the practice of
praying for the dead ridiculous, we, in our sober
senses, possessed of common sense as well as our
good Protestant neighbours, enlightened by a libe
ral education as well as many of them, endowed
with genius and talents, capable of the most pro
found disquisitions, in short, endowed, many of
us, with all the perfections of the understanding
which nature can give, or education improve, we
answer, that we find the belief in a place of tem
poral punishment, and the practice of praying for
the dead, perfectly reasonable.
Here then is reason opposed to reason, common
sense to common sense, genius and talents to ge
nius and talents; the reason, common sense, &.c.
of very many in favour of purgatory opposed to
the reason, common sense. &c. of comparatively
few against purgatory.
Who shall decide, and decide so as to put the
question for ever to rest? None but the great
tribunal which Jesus Christ established on eartb
more than eighteen hundred years ago. When
infusing into his ministers the spirit of truth, he
promised that that spirit should never depart from
them to the end of time. This tribunal, as I have
proved above, has decided in our favour, and it is
because that supreme and infallible tribunal has
decided so, that we believe as we do.
A DEFENCE OF CATHOLIC PRINCIPLES. Ill
Just as I was going to close the present subject,
a little pamphlet fell into my hands, the author of
which calls himself an independent minister, in
which I find the following objection against pur
^This doctrine of purgatory casts a reproach on
Christ as a Saviour of sinners, representing his
obedience and suffering as insufficient to atone for
This objection, dear sir, will appear very trifling
to you when you know, that the Catholic Church
teaches, that the merits of Jesus Christ are of
themselves far more than sufficient to atone for all
the sins of mankind. But Jesus Christ requires
our co-operation; and it depends upon the degree
of our co-operation, whether those infinite merits
of Christ are applied to us in a more or less abun
It is in the order of grace as in the order of
nature, In the sweat of thy face, shalt thou eat
bread, Gen. iii. 19.
God s omnipotence alone gives growth to our
grain; yet without casting a reproach on that om
nipotence we may safely assert, that, cczteris pari-
/ms, in proportion as we plough and sow, in that
proportion we shall reap. So, likewise, although
Christ s merits and satisfaction for sinners are of
infinite value, yet the benefit we shall reap of
those infinite merits will be proportionate to our
112 A DEFENCE OF CATHOLIC PRINCIPLES.
endeavours in subduing our corrupt nature, out
sinful inclinations, and conforming to the will of
4 He who soweth sparingly shall reap sparingly;
and he who soweth in blessing shall also reap of
blessings, 2 Cor. ix. 6.
He, then, who soweth so sparingly in this world
as to remain, in his dying moment, indebted to the
Divine Justice, will, after his death, be compelled
to pay to the last farthing what, by more strenu
ous endeavours, he might have paid in this world.
I believe, sir, I have fulfilled my promise of
proving, that we are not guilty of superstition in
believing a purgatory, and praying for the dead.
I shall now try to prove, that we are no more
guilty of superstition in honouring the saints, and
applying to their intercession.
HONOURING THE SAINTS, AND APPLYING TO THEIR
FEW of the tenets of our holy religion are at
tacked with more virulence, than the present one*,
but pray, sir, how is it attacked ? By misrepre
sentation ; it is exhibited in a most odious form,
and then this phantom, the offspring of a heated
A DEFENCE OF CATHOLIC PRINCIPLES. 113
imagination, or perhaps of a malicious heart, is
attacked by the most violent abuse, the very
worst of bad arguments ; it is attacked with the
powerful arms of ridicule and low ribaldry.
According to the bold assertions delivered from
Protestant pulpits, and propagated from Protestant
presses, we worship the saints, we make gods of
them, we consider them as our mediators, we give
them the honour belonging to God alone, &c.
The General Council of Trent expressly teaches.,
that the saints who r,eign with Christ offer up:
their prayers to God for men, and that it is good
and useful to invoke them, and in order to obtain-
from God, blessings through his son Jesus Christ
our Lord, who alone is our Redeemer and Saviour,
to have recourse to their prayers, help and assist
ance, Cone. Trid. Sess. 25. Again,
Although the church docs sometimes offer up
masses in honour and in memory of the saints,
yet it is riot to them, but to God alone, who has
crowned them, that the sacrifice is offered up :
therefore, the priest does not say, I offer up this
sacrifice to thee, Peter, or thce, P<;\il, but to God
himself, giving thanks to him for their victories,
imploring their patronage, that thev may vouchsafe
to intercede for us in heaven, whose memory -v-e
celebrate on earth, Con. Trid. Sess. 25, c: 2".
You will readily acknowledge, dear sir,, that
*hnre is a wide difference between divine worship.
114 A DEFENCE OF CATHOLIC PRINCIPLES.
and simple honour or reverence. Divine worship
belongs to God alone, honour and reverence may
be paid to ma.ny of God s creatures. Thus, even
by God s commandment, we honour our parents,
our superiors in church and state , we honour
persons respectable for their rank, dignity, virtue,
talents, 8ic. and all this without robbing God of
that honour and reverence justly due to him.
If then, it is no sin to honour poor mortals
who are yet in this place of trial, of whose eternal
fate we are very uncertain, why should it be sin
to honour those whom the great God has been
pleased to honour with a seat of eternal glory in
his kingdom. All the power, riches and glory of
this world are nothing in comparison to a single
ray of glory emanating from the lowest saint in
What honour does not a monarch receive over
the whole earth ? And perhaps he is a very great
sinner-, perhaps a victim of God s eternal ven-
,-geance; how much more honour and reverence
is even the least saint in heaven entitled to ? The
Council of Trent ordering sacrifice to be offered
to God alone, confines divine worship to God, but
at the same time recommends the saints to be re
membered and honoured, and their intercession,
in our behalf, to be implored.
The catechism of the Council of Trent (part 3)
explains the prodigious difference there is between
A DEFENCE OF CATHOLIC PRINCIPLES. 115
the manner of imploring the assistance of God,
and that of imploring 1 the assistance of saints;
we pray to God, it says, either to grant us good
things, or to deliver us from evil : but because the
saints are more agreeable to him than we are. we
beg of them to plead in our behalf, and to obtain
of God for us whatever we stand in need of." 1
Hence it is, that we make use of two forms of
prayer, widely different from one another ; for, in
speaking to God, we say, have mercy on MS, hear
MS, whereas, in addressing ourselves to a saint, we
say no more than pray for us.
It is a very ancient and common practice among
Christians to ask one another s prayers, and to
pray for one another. I beseech you, says St.
Paul, that you also help me in your prayers to
God for me, Rom. xv. 30. I make my prayer,"
says St. John, that thou mayest prosper as to all
things, and be in health, &c. 3 John 2.
The holy Apostles then, in applying to the in
tercession of others, or praying for them, did not
think they were guilty of derogating from any of
the divine perfections, or of attributing to mere
creatures, w-hat belongs to God alone. Neither
are we guilty of derogating from the perfections
of God, when we apply to one another s interces
sion. Why then should we be guilty of derogat
ing from the perfections c.f God, by applying to
the intercession of his saints in heaven, admitting
1 M5 A DEFENCE OF CATHOLIC PRINCIPLES.
that the saints are able to hear our prayers, am 1
willing to offer their intercession in our behalf?
You will readily acknowledge, dear sir, that their
intercession must be more efficacious than the in
tercession of our fellow-mortals. Jf then praying
to the saints is by the gentlemen of the Reforma
tion, considered as superstitious, it must be, be
cause the saints are considered too far from us to
hear our prayers; or because they are thought
unwilling to apply in our behalf. Such, indeed,
is the objection I find in a book called the Morn
ing Exercise against Popery, which is a collec
tion of sermons preached by twenty-four Protes
tant ministers, with the avowed purpose of de
tecting and confuting errors of the Roman Catholic
Church. This practice is irrational, (says Mr.
Mayo, in his sermon against invocation of saints
and angels, p. 525,) there is nothing more absurd.
Consider (says he) their incapacity to hear the
prayers that are directed to them. That this is
the case of the glorified spirits is evident, because
1. They are not omnipresent; they are circum
scribed and finite crer.lires, and can be but in
one place at once. 2. They are not omniperci-
pient; if they should hear what men say with
their mouths, they cannot perceive or understand
what men say in their hearts. Here is logic
The saints and angels are not every where, do
A DEFENCE OF V. ATHOLIC PRINCIPLES 117
not know every thing, therefore they do not hear
our prayers, far less perceive our thoughts. Such
and no better will be the way of reasoning of
any person, who has no other guide than reason
blinded by prejudice.
Beginning where he should end, he will lay
down as self-evident the very matters in dispute,
without any better proof than his own bold and
presumptuous assertion, it is certain, it is absurd,
it is self-evident, &c. and thus starting from false
principles, his conclusion can be no better.
Mr. Mayo, and I suppose all the gentlemen of
the Reformation, take it for granted, then, that
saints and angels do not hear our prayers, far less
perceive our thoughts. Now, sir, abstracting for
awhile from the decision of the Catholic Church,
which for Catholics is sufficient, and taking the
present question on your own ground, what does
Scripture say? There shall be joy before the
angels of God upon one sinner doing penance,
Luc. xv. 10. The angels then see our thoughts.
Take heed that ye despise not one of these
little ones, for I say to you their angels that are
in heaven, always see the face of my Father.
Matt, xviii. 10. The angels then know when we
are injured, and pray to God in our behalf; and
the saints are as the angels of God in heaven,^
Matt. xxii. 30. Equal to the angels, Luke xx. 36.
When thou didst pray, said the angel Raphael
]1S A DEFENCE OF CATHOLIC PRINCIPLES.
to Tobias, I offered thy prayer to the Lord, Tob
The angels are all ministering spirits, sent to
minister for them who shall receive the inheri
tance of salvation, Heb. i. 14. And that God
gives the saints great power in the government of
this world is plain from the following :
He that shall overcome, and keep my works to
the end, to him will I give power over the nations,
and he shall rule them with a rod of iron, Apoc.
11. 26, 27.
That angels and saints actually pray for us, is
likewise plainly stated in Scripture. The angel
of the Lord answered and said, O Lord of hosts,
how long wilt thou not have mercy on Jerusalem,
and the cities of Juda, with which thou hast been
angry these three score and ten years ? Zacli. i.
12. The four and twenty ancients fell down be
fore the Lamb, having every one of them harps,
and giolden vials full of odours, which are the
prayers of the saints, Apoc. v. 8. And Judus
Macchabeus saw in a vision Onias that had been
high priest, holding up his hands and praying for
the Jews, and pointing also to another, in these
words : this is a lover of the brethren, who pi ay-
eth much for the people and for the holy city
namely, Jeremias, the prophet of God, 2 Macchab
xv. 12, 13, 14. They had both been dead maiij
A DEFENCE OF CATHOLIC PRINCIPLES, 119
That the practice of honouring and praying to
the saints, is as ancient as Christianity, is evident
from the testimony of the holy fathers in all ages.
The belief of the first age on this point, will ap
pear from St. Ignatius, who requesting, a little
before his martyrdom, which happened in 107,
the prayers of the Trallians for himself and his
church, adds thus, that my soul may intercede
for you, not only in this life, but hereafter in the
presence of my God.
St. Justin, the martyr, who lived in the second
age, says, we venerate and worship the angelic
host, and the spirits of the prophets, teaching
others as we ourselves have been taught.
I will begin to fall down on my knees, 5 says
the learned Origen, who lived in the third age,
l and pray to all the saints to succour me, who
dare not ask God, for the exceeding greatness of
my sin. O saints of God ! with tears and weep
ing I beseech you to fall down before his mercy
for me a wretch, in Lament.
And again, al l the saints departed, still bearing
charity towards the living, it will not be improper
to say, that they have a care of their salvation,
and help them with their prayers to God for them,
&c. Homil. 3, in Cant.
St. Ambrose, who lived in the fourth age, says:
that my prayer may be more efficacious, I cal)
upon the intercession of the B. V. Mary, I ask the
120 A DEFENCE OF CATHOLIC PRINCIPLES.
prayers of the Apostles, the assistance of the mar
tyrs and confessors, Prep, for Death. And, again,
it is our duty to pray to the angels who have been
given us to be our guardians. We should address
our prayers to the martyrs, whose bodies still re
maining among us, are pledges of their protection.
Neither let us blush to ask their intercession under
our infirmities, since they, even when they con
quered, knew what infirmities are.
In the same age lived St. Basil, who expressly
refers this practice to the Apostles, where he savs,
"I invoke the Apostles, Prophets, and Martyrs to
pray for me, that God may be merciful to me, and
forgive me my sins, since this has been ordained
by tradition from the Apostles, and is practiced in
all our churches.
In the fifth age, St. Augustin says, we do not
pray for the holy martyrs, but we recommend
ourselves to their prayers, Tract. 84, in Joan.
Inste-ad of quoting any more of the holy fathers,
I cannot forbear giving you here the opinio-n of
the learned Protestant Bishop Montague on this
C I do not deny, says he, k but the saints are me
diators, as they are called, of prayer and interces
sion, but in general, and for all in general. They
interpose with God by their supplications and
mediate by their prayers, Antid. p. 20. The same
Bishop Montague owns that the blessed in heaven
A DEFENCE OF CATHOLIC PRINCIPLES. 121
do recommend to God in their prayers their kin
dred, friends and acquaintances on earth ; and
having given his reason, he says, this common
voice with general concurrence, without contra
diction of reverend and learned antiquity, for
aught I ever could read or understand ; and 1 see
uo cause or reason to dissent from them touching
intercession, in this kind, Treat. Invoc. of Saint?.
p. 103. He owns also that it is no injury to th; j
mediation of Christ, to ask of the saints to pray
for us. Indeed I grant Christ is not wronged ir,
his mediation; it is no impiety to say, as they of
the Roman Church do, holy Mary pray for me ;
holy Peter pray for me, p. 118. And again, I
see no absurdity in nature, no incongruity unto
analogy of faith, no repugnancy at all to sacred
Scripture, much less, impiety, for any man to say,
holy angel guardian pray for me.
It is true, the same Protestant Bwhop seems in
another place to express a doubt whether thf
saints can hear or know our prayers.
Could I come at them, he says, or certainly
inform them of my state, without any question 01
much ado, t would readily and willingly say, holy
Peter, blessed Paul, pray for me ; recommend m\
case unto Christ Jesus our Lord. Were they with
me, by me in my kenning, I would run with ope:i
inns and fall upon my knees, and with affection,
desire them to pray for me.
122 A DEFENCE OF CATHOLIC PRINCIPLES
The only difficulty then, with this good Bi shop
is, his uncertainty whether the saints can have
any knowledge of the petitions made to them,
but this difficulty seems to be completely re
moved by the declaration of Scripture, that there
is joy in heaven at the conversion of a sinner
St. Augustine (Lib. de Cura pro Mort. c. 26,)
moves the same difficulty, confessing it above the
reach of his reason, to understand how the saints
relieve those that call upon them. Yet he, with
all .the holy fathers and doctors of the church,
maintains that the saints do certainly assist us,
and intercede for such as call upon them.
Divine mysteries, as I have already observed,
always offer difficulties to the human understand
ing. The present difficulty, however, is not alto
gether insuperable to human reason; on the con
trary, dear sir, the Catholic belief on the present
subject must, upon examination, meet the appro
bation of reason.
Would it not be unreasonable, even impious, to
assert, that the saints and angels assisted with the
light of grace and glory, do not know as much as
the- infernal spirits, who are deprived of both.
Now, sir, it is certain that evil spirits have know
ledge of us, and in a great measure know not only
our actions, but even our thoughts.
The devil Cometh, says Christ, and taketli the
word out of their heart, lest believing they should
A DEFENCE OF CATHOLIC PRINCIPLES. 1*23
be saved. Luke viii. 12. When an unclean spirit
is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry
places, seeking rest, and fmdeth none. Then he
saith, I will return into my house from whence T
came out. And coming he findeth it empty,
swept, and garnished. Then he goeth, and taketh
with him seven other spirits more wicked than
himself, and they enter .in and dwell there : and
the last state of that man is made worse than the
first, Matt. xii. 43, 44, 45. Moreover, since the
evil spirit is said by St. John, to be the accuser
of the servants of God, Apoc. xii. 10, and by St.
Peter, c to be like a roaring lion going about, seek
ing whom he may devour, 1 Pet. v. 8.
Is it unreasonable to believe, that blessed spirits
have at least as much power in protecting man, as
infernal spirits in destroying man ? Is it unrea
sonable to believe, that the blessed spirits who
surround the throne of God, have at least as much
zeal for the salvation of man, as infernal spirits
for his damnation ? Finally, is it unreasonable to
suppose, that the blessed in heaven are as able and
willing to plead in our behalf, as evil spirits are to
accuse us ?
The secrets of hearts have been in many in
stances known to mortals. Thus, Eliseus, in his
house, knew the king s intention to take his head,
4 Kings vi. 32. thus, the same Eliseus knew what
passed between his servant Giezi and Narnan,
when himself was absent, 4 Kings v. 26.
124 A DEFENCE OF CATHOLIC PRINCIPLES.
St. Peter knew the sacrilegious fraud acted pri
vately between Ananias and Saphka, Acts v. What
was possible for feeble mortals, by the light of
grace, should that be impossible for the blessed
saints, who have both the light of grace and glory ?
Of whom St. Paul says, they see and know God
face to face, even as they themselves are known,
I Cor. xiii. 12. Much more might be said on the
subject; enough has been said to convince the
candid reader that Catholics are not guilty of
superstition in honouring those whom God him
self chooses to honour, arid in expecting much
from the intercession and protection of those
blessed angels and saints, who surround the
throne of God, and whose thoughts, desires,
affections, charity, zeal, &.c. are in perfect unison
with God s holy will and infinite charity.
It can be no superstition then, to believe, that
the saints desire our salvation, because God de
sires it. It can be no superstition to believe, that
the saints know our thoughts and desires, (which
even the devils know,) the Scripture declaring
that the repentance of the sinner on earth, causes
joy among the blessed in heaven, Luc. xv. 10.
It can be no superstition to expect much from
the protection of those, who, by the spirit of God
are declared to be appointed ministering spirits
for our salvation, Heb. i. 14. And who are again de
clared to have power, and to be rulers of nations,
A DEFENCE OF CATHOLIC PRINCIPLES. 12- j
Apoc. ii. 26. It can be no superstition to apply to
the intercession of those, who in Holy Writ are
declared intercessors in our behalf, Zach. i. and ii.
Mac. xv. It can be no superstition to believe,
that the intercession of the saints in heaven will
be of more avail towards deciding the fate of
men and nations, than the intercession of ten
mortals would have been in deciding the fate
of a city, Gen. xviii. 32. Or the intercession of
one man (Job) in deciding the fate of his three
Permit me, dear sir, to ask one question. Are
you very certain, that the Lord, whose decrees are
inscrutable, has not perhaps made your salvation
dependent on the intercession of some certain
saint or saints ? Are you altogether certain, that
your own prayers will prove sufficient to obtain
now, and in your last hour, a full application of
the merits of your dying Saviour ? The Lord, it
is true, is merciful beyond expression, but he calls
himself a jealous God ; are you certain, that the
Lord is not offended, that his wrath is not kindled
to the highest degree, at seeing those neglected
and despised upon earth, whom he so much exalts
and honours in heaven.
Are you certain, that those will ever le asso
ciated in the enjoyment of eternal glory, to the
blessea saints in heaven, that had no communica
tion with them on earth ?
A DEFENCE OF CATHOLIC PRINCIPLE 8.
The Apostles creed, / believe in God, <-c,
makes mention of the communion of saints, which
is the ninth article of this creed. Pray, which
church is it that really, and not in words alone,
holds and believes this communion of saints in
every sense of the word ?
Forgive me, dear sir, if my zeal for the salva
tion of my Protestant fellow-mortals causes me
sometimes to overstep the bounds of my subject,
and of my original plan, which was to exculpate
Roman Catholics from the guilt of superstition.
Before concluding, I must here observe with re
spect to this false and odious charge, that it was
first made to serve the interested views of those
who judged it expedient to excite clamour and
prejudice against the Catholic religion. They
well knew the falsehood of what they asserted,
but wanting sufficient virtue to prefer truth to
temporal advantages, they hesitated not to employ
the vilest slanders to attain their end. The same
are still propagated by many, either from the
same base motive, or because they suppose this
the surest and readiest means of bringing them
selves into notice, or of acquiring influence in
their respective societies, by thus gratifying the
prejudices of their hearers. The conduct of die
latter is scarcely less culpable than that of the
former. It is a very weak excuse for those who
now calumniate our religion, to say that they>
A DEFENCE OF CATHOLIC PRINCIPLES 127
finding those charges already made by others,
take them for granted, without inquiring whether
they are true or false. Such a mode of proceed
ing would he extremely unjust towards even an
individual, and it is much more so, towards the
far largest body of Christians in existence. Our
adversaries are so much the less excusable in im
puting to us doctrines which we detest, as they
might easily ascertain what we really hold, espe
cially since so many approved works, containing
the principles of our belief and practice, are be
fore the public, and may be easily had. Some of
them have so far misrepresented our invocation
of the saints, as to charge us with substituting the
worship of demons for that of God. The falsehood
of this charge of idolatry, is evident from the
simple statement of our doctrine on this point :
we believe that it is good and profitable to invoke
the prayers of the saints, to whom God can, by
innumerable ways, reveal those addressed to them ;
and therefore, it is unimportant to know what
may be the particular means employed by him for
this end. By praying to them, we attribute no
divine perfection to creatures, as the idolaters did,
since we acknowledge even in the greatest saints,
no degree of excellence, but what come? from
God ; no virtue, but what is the gift of his grace ;
no knowlege of human affairs, but what he is
pleased to communicate to them; in fine, no
/28 A DEFENCE OF CATHOLIC PRINCIPLES.
power of assisting us, except by their prayers.
Moreover, that the saints are not raised above the
rank of creatures, by ascribing to them the know
ledge imparted, however, by God, not only of the
things passing in this life, but even of our
thoughts, is evident from the examples cf the
Prophets, who knew not only things present^ but
what is yet more wonderful, future things, the
knowledge of which God seems to have particu
larly reserved to himself. Hence, several eminent
Protestant writers, who have viewed, in its proper
light, the doctrine of Catholics on this point, have
totally given up the groundless charge of idolatry
and superstition : for example, Bishop Montague,
qiroted above ; and Thorndike, prebendary of
Westminster, warns his brethren not to lead
people by the nose, to believe they can prove
Papists to be idolaters, when they cannot, Just
Weights, p. 10.
I shall now in a few words explain the doctrine
of the holy Catholic Church respecting images,
pictures and re.Mcs.
A DEF OF CATHOLIC I RII> CIPLES. 129
IMAGES, PICTURES AND RELICS.
MUCH indeed needs not be said on that sub
ject to those who are candid, and provided with
the least share of common sense ; to those, who
with seeing eyes will not see, and with hearing
ears will not ear, too much has been said already.
The General Council of Trent declares, that
the sacred bodies of the holy martyrs and of
other saints, who were living members of Christ,
and the temples of the Holy Ghost, which bodies
will by him be raised to eternal life and glorified,
ought to be venerated by the faithful on earth,
Cone. Trid. Ses. 25. Also, that the images of
Christ, of the Blessed Virgin, and of other saints,
are to be retained, especially in churches, and that
due honour and veneration is to be given to them,
not that any divinity or any power is believed to
reside in them. The Catechism of the Council
of Trent adds, istud maxime cavendum, ne quod
Deo proprium est cuiquam pr&terae triburmit^ T.
2, p. 603; particular care must be taken, tha to
none be given what belongs to God alone.
Here is nothing but what every Christian must
approve as conformable to the Word of God, and
St. John the Baptist venerated the \*ery latch ets
of our Saviour s shoes. Mark i. 7.
130 A DEFiiXCE OF CATHOLIC PR IPI.ES.
The Israelites venerated the brazen serpent, a.
type or figure of Christ, Numb. xxi. 9.
By the command of God, two images of cheru
bim were made and placed on the ark, Exod. xxv
18. The primitive Christians venerated the very
shadows and garments of St. Peter and St. Paul,
and received particular blessings thereby, Acts v.
15 and xix. 12.
Roman Catholics venerate the images of Christ,
of the Blessed Virgin and of the saints, on account
of their prototypes. None of them are so stupid
as to believe that any divinity, any power or
virtue resides in any of those images.
How many, both Protestants and Catholics,
keep the picture of Gen. Washington, and exhibit
the same in the most conspicuous place of their
houses, certainly with a view of showing honour
to the memory of the deceased general. Nobody,
in his senses, ever thought of condemning that
practice as superstitious.
How many Protestants hang upon the walls of
their houses the pictures of their deceased parents
and friends ? How many a Protestant child will
honour the picture of a deceased parent with a
costly frame: look at that picture- with sentiments
of respect and veneration, perhaps bedew it with
tears of sorrow and gratitude, nay, with the most
sincere affection press it to its lips ? Sir, will you
accuse that cb ld of superstition ?
A DEFENCE OF CATHOLIC PRINCIPLES 131
Let prejudice subside, and now substitute a
Catholic in the room of the Protestant, and the
picture of Christ crucified, in the place of the
picture of the deceased parent; pray, dear sir,
will you not permit that Catholic to exhibit liia
crucifix in the most conspicuous part of his house?
Will you not permit him to look at his crucifix
with respect and veneration ? Will you not per
mit him to bedew his crucifix with tears of sorrow
and gratitude ? Nay, with the most sincere love
and affection to press that crucifix to his lips ?
And suppose that Catholic should allow an ho
nourable place to the picture of the most Blessed
Virgin mother of our Saviour, and likewise to the
pictures of the holy Apostles, and of the other
servants of Christ, would you condemn him ?
Would you accuse him of superstition ? I cannot
I have spent many happy moments before the
c-elebrated picture of Guido Reni, in the gallery
of Dusseklorf in Germany, which represents the
assumption of the Blessed Virgin, and 1 must con
fess that I was struck with awe. J found myself
in a deep contemplation, my soul, as it were, with
drawn from its earthly habitation, and elevated
towards the mansions of eternal bliss. The hea
venly looks of the Virgin, as expressed in the
picture, pointed out to me the proper object of
my affections. With the deepest sentiments oi
~ A DEFENCE OF CATHOLIC PRINCIPLES
my unworthiness, I had the most exalted ideas of
the dignity of man, and it was with regret I left
the spot, when called away to my lodgings.
Religious pictures in general, are well calculated
both to enlighten and edify. To enlighten by
exhibiting the most remarkable arid prominent
facts belonging to the history of religion ; to edify
by kindling up the fire of devotion.
What place then could be found more pioper
for religious pictures than the church, the house
of God, the sanctuary, where the tremendous
sacrifice is offered, and where the sacraments, the
divine mysteries, are administered. That place,
above all others, is the place of devotion, and it is
there, that by hearing the word of God, by offer
ing up our prayers, by meditating on divers reli
gious subjects represented by our pictures, medi
tating on the religious and moral virtues of the
saints, whose images are before us, meditating
especially on the great sufferings of Christ, as
represented by our crucifixes, on his immense
love for sinners, &.c. it is there, I say, and by such
means, that our piety is both enlightened and
Superstition!!! Amiable superstition indeed,
which is productive of so much good. And does
not zeal for the cause of religion suggest a sincere
desire, that the crucifix and other religious pic
tures would be substituted in th" place of many
A DEFENCE OF CATHOLIC PRINCIPLES. 133
those pictures that often adorn the walls of
ou people of fashion, to the detriment of both
religion and morals ? Would not that zeal which
attacks our religious pictures, and exhib ts them
mos\ shamefully as the objects of our supersti-
tiousWorship, be more meritoriously employed
in condemning those indecent, immodest and truly
scanda\pus pictures, which by defiling the imagi
nation, \nd tarnishing the purity of the heart, are
so calcined to extinguish devotion, or the love
of God ^together, and therefore to produce an
effect the Very reverse of that produced by reli
gious pictures : and if the commandment of God,
4hou shalt not make to thyself any graven image-,
&c. ever was intended to be understood in the
literal sense, A\as it not principally with regard to
such images ot pictures, as have a tendency, by
defiling the imagination, and corrupting the heart,
to withdraw fron\ the great Creator that affection.
Honour and worship which are due to him alone,
and to place them on the most unworthy of God s
creatures. This, in my opinion, is the most dan
gerous kind of idolatry, the most universally
practised, both by bad Catholics and bad Protes
tants. It is thus the idolatry of the Pagans
chiefly originated ; never would altars have been
erected to Bacchus or to Venus, had not corrupted
man bestowed his heart and affections on the infa
mous objects of His passions.
134 A DEFENCE OF CATHOLIC PRINCIPLES,
Ah sir! permit me to say it, this is not one of
the least of Satan s infernal stratagems, in order tr
drag millions of souls into the gulf of perdition
to raise the hue and cry against Popish pictures.
Popish idolatry, to sound the trumpet of alarm
from the rising to the setting of the sun, ind to
attack the pious practice of keeping crucifixes and
religious pictures, with sharp and poisonous shafts
of low ribaldry and sarcasm. I say ths is not
one of the least of Satan s infernal stratagems, in
order to divert the attention of corrupted man
from the far more dangerous idolatry jh which his
own heart is engaged, having bestowed all his
attention, his affection, his devotioi on the un
worthy objects of his criminal passions, and
feeling for his God nothing but Ine most perfect
That gentlemen who call themselves ministers
of Christ, who pretend to no inconsiderable share
of learning, and who are, or might be well ac
quainted with the doctrine and practice of the
Catholic Church, in regard to crucifixes and pic
tures, should join in this work of destruction,
should wilfully misrepresent this pious and edify
ing doctrine and practice, and that they should,
with unabaied zeal, attack this pretended Popish
idolatry, a mere phantom, instead of directing
their united efforts against that real idolatry,
which is driving mi 1 lions of souls into the g^ilf
A DEFENCE OF CATHOLIC PRINCIPLES. ISO
of perdition, is truly astonishing, and affords an
additional proof of what I have already advanced,
that sinful man, if he should become so presump
tuous as to attempt reforming the most holy, the
most perfect of all the works of God, the church,
will, in just punishment for his sacrilegious pro
sumption, be deprived of the heavenly light of
God s grace ; with seeing eyes he will not see, he
will call right wrong, and wrong right, and blas
pheming what he does not know, he will perish
in his own corruption, 2 Pet. ii. 12.
With regard to relics or remains of saints, we
honour them in the same way as we do religious
images, according to the practice of antiquity. If
this practice scandalizes you, sir, why do you per
mit your Protestant hearers to show honour and
respect to the remains or relics of their deceased
friends ? Are not the remains or relics of your
deceased Protestants honoured with decent burials,
accompanied with many ceremonies ? Are not
their tombs decorated with costly monuments ;
Are not the remains or relics of many Protestants
embalmed at very great expense, and sometimes
even with great labour and cost, conveyed many
thousand miles to the country of their nativity, to
be deposited with great pomp and ceremony hi
the burying ground of the family ? Is not this
paying respect and honour to remains and relics ;
such respect and honour are frequently shown by
J36 A DEFENCE OF CATHOLIC PRINCIPLES.
both Catholics and Protestants, without incurring
the guilt of superstition, though shewn to the
remains or relics of men often notorious for their
impiety!!! To the remains or relics of men,
who, though entitled by their services, to the gra
titude of their country, yet in all their life-time,
never seemed to remember their Saviour, only to
blaspheme his holy name, and who have left UP,
to say the very best, in the most cruel uncertainty,
with regard to their future and everlasting destiny,
having nothing to found our hopes on, but the
late, commonly too late, repentance of the ago
Now, sir, if such honour and respect may be
shown to the relics of men, whose souls have re
ceived that sentence which their deeds deserved,
and are actually a prey to God s eternal ven
geance, why shall it be a sin, why superstition, to
shew honour and respect to the relics of men,
who, having been the best among the good, the
holiest among the holy, are now enjoying in the
bosom of God, the fruits of their penance and
charity, sanctified by the merits of their Saviour ?
Why shall it be superstition to venerate and
honour the relics or remains of the Apostles,
whose sacred bodies underwent such great fa
tigues, labours and sufferings, in order to adminis
ter salvation to the different nations of the globe ?
Why superstition to respect and venerate the
A DEFENCE OF CATHOLIC PRINCIPLES. lo/
sacred remains of so many thousands of martyrs.,
whose souls and bodies were altogether employed
in promoting the glory of God, and the salvation
of their fellow-mortals, who died under the most
excruciating torments, victims of their faith and
How much Almighty God is pleased with the
honour rendered to the relics of his deceased ser
vants and saints, he has repeatedly proved by
making these very relics instruments of miracles.
The very touch of Eliseu s bones raised a dead
man to life, 4 Kings xiii. 21.
The napkins and handkerchiefs, that had but
touched the body of St. Paul, cast out devils and
cured diseases, Acts xix. 12.
Nay, the very shadow of St. Peter, cured dis
eases in such as honoured it, Acts v. 15.
St. Augustin, a holy father, respected by both
Protestants and Catholics, certifies, that at the
relics of St. Stephen, there were so many miracles
wrought, that if all should be recorded, they
would fill many volumes, Book 22, of the City
When we consider, that the body of a Christian
is, in a great measure, made partaker of those
blessings, which by the holy sacraments of the
church, are conveyed to his soul, and that at the
general resurrection, it will likewise partake of
thai divine glory, with w r hich the mercy of God
138 A DEFENCE OF CATHOLIC PRINCIPLES.
will reward his faithful servants, we must readil)
confess, that a great deal of honour, respect and
veneration, is due to the remains or relics of a
The water of regeneration administered in bap
tism, sanctifies the body as well as the soul, and
renders it susceptible through the merits of Christ
of eternal glory.
In the holy sacrament of confirmation, it it
sanctified again by the presence of the Holy
Ghost, and the anointing with the holy chrism.
By means of that body we eat the flesh of
Christ, who thus communicates himself to the
Thus, a body, nothing but clay, and by the sin
of Adam, nothing but corruption, becomes through,
the merits of the Redeemer, a sanctified body, the
temple of the Holy Ghost, 1 Cor. vi. 19. The
mansion of Christ, destined to become at the
general resurrection a spiritual body, a gk>rified
body, resplendent with light and glory for ever, 1
Cor. xv. 43, 44.
Is it superstition, dear sir, to show great respect
and veneration to those remains or relics, which
God himself is pleased to honour so highly ? But
you have been told, or you have read somewhere,
that Catholics worship relics ! Of this I do not
doubt, for I have been told so repeatedly, and
have read it in several Protestant books ; yet,
A DEFENCE OF CATHOL.C PRINCIPLES. 139
although I lived fifteen years in a Catholic coun
try, and have been acquainted with numbers of
Catholics, both of the clergy and laity from
almost every Catholic country in Europe, I never
knew one so stupid as to worship relics. The
most ignorant can easily distinguish the supremo
worship due to God alone, from the respect to be
shown to the relics of the saints, his servants. If
this relative respect may, as we have shown, be
lawfully paid to the memorials of all distinguished
persons, why may it not be equally so to those
of the saints ? Veneration has been maintained
for them in all ages of the church, for we know
that the primitive Christians carried away the
relics of St. Ignatius, St. Poly carp, and other
martyrs, immediately after their execution, and
carefully preserved them as more valuable than
gold and precious stones. It appears from St
Gregory of Nyssa, who lived in the fourth age,
that the relics of the saints were deposited in the
churches. Hence, according to the custom of
venerable antiquity, those precious relics are kept
in costly shrines under and about the altars, and
highly venerated, as having been even in their
corruptible state, the temple of the Holy Ghost, 1
Cor. vi. 19, and as being intended for eternal
glory, when re-united to the soul.
I shall now dismiss the subject, trusting that 1
have said more than enough to convince you and
lit) A I>F i I \ I or e \ i inn i. ri:i \i I I-I.I.H
\oiir eandid lu\ m i-., tli.ii \\ e ;uc |.\ M
MII ,I\ ol npei .lilu .11, 111 le .peelni" aiul In KM niriii<>
ill im.i- e , .nul lehes o| siimtv The pimeipal
utirl - i| nnpoilaiire lell lor me In explain, IN
\\ hat \\r !x lle\e ! llir I IIH-.
\ i I dirvc thai Jesus Clirisl, \\ln> \\onlil ha\i-
liincli |.i In- ,,n, , ;,IK! -.,,h.ll\ l.inll iij.i.ii
tiiiii\, li.iili in .lilulr.l ih.- pniiiacN ! St. lYtrr, I,.
sii|)j).)H ami to n-iucnl il.
! s i lYlri- alone, our hli-ssrd Sa\i.>m -auL
Mhoii art I rh i- (| rook -nul upon llii- i..ck I \\ill
l)iiil.l inv clunvli, 1 fee, M-iH. \\i
I o \\-\:-v alone, our l>h .111 .ml, k | \\ ill
! i\c lo llier (In- krx., ,,! (In- KIIPM loin ol licaven, 1
\rr. l ( .).
To lYlrr alone, onr |.|r,-.rl Sa\iom -,anl, I
li:i\e pra\ ed lorlliee lliat lh\ lailli I. nl not , and
iliou iicinu- onc0 converted) confirm il>\ inciincn/
To I eler alone, our hlessed Savioin proposed
tlie I ollnv, ni!^ ijiii slum, Simon, .son >!
thoU me John \\i. l->, Hi. |7,
mid Upon Teler^ an^uei in the aHinnalne, lie
A , ?-.*. ] 1)
vriee, feed my Jamb*, 1 am:
.all bind on earth.
ball fc tnd whatsoever
you shall . ! also
in heaven. 5 Mart. \ >* ffaer
. rr.ftivM thft pOW^r .V d4
indiridnally, *I wfll give to ihee the ky of the
kingdo ; v^n. and whatKoerer thoa hah
bind npon earth, kc. Matt. xvi. 1 0.
ally mentioned be-
i:>r, ; . . . ----: . ,
>*t, Art* ii, 14;
rirrt mhaenlowi core, Aete iii, 46; in the
defenr he high priests, A^t* h-^ hi the
jod^pnen t agaiiMt A nania* and Sa^ira, Aete v. ;
to the ehoreh of
142 A DEFENCE OF CATHOLIC PRINCIPLES.
day. Their names are all upon record, and any
person versed in the history of the church, and
the writings of the holy fathers, will candidly
confess, that a primacy of jurisdiction has always
been acknowledged in the bishops of Rome.
Si. Irenams, in the second age, says, that all
churches, round about, ought to resort to the Ro
man Church, by reason of its more powerful
principality, L. iii. c. 3.
In the third age, St. Cyprian says, we hold
Peter the head and root- of the church, and he
calls the church of Rome, St. Peter s chair,
In the fourth age, St. Basil calls St. Peter, that
blessed one, who was preferred before the rest of
the Apostles, Serm. de Judicio Dei.
In the same age, St. Epiphanius says, he chose
Peter to be the chief of his disciples, Heres. 51.
In the same age, again, St. Cyril of Jerusalem,
says, Peter the prince, and most excellent of all
the Apostles, Catechis. 2.
In the same age, St. Chrysostom says, the pas
tor and head of the church was once a poor
fisherman, Homil. 55 in Matt.
In the same age, Eusebins Emissenus calls St.
Peter not only pastor, but the pastor of pastors,
Serm. de Nativ. S. Jo.
Again, St. Ambrose says, Andrew first followed
our Saviour, yet Andrew received not the primacy,
hut Peter, in 2 Cor. xii.
A DEFENCE OF CATHOLIC PRINCIPLES. 143
In the fifth age, St. Angustin calls 4 Peter the
head of the Apostles, the gate-keeper of heaven,
and the foundation of the church, (to -wit, under
Christ,) Epist. 88.
The first General Council of Nice, A. D. 325,
defined, that he who holds the See of Rome, is the
head and chief of all the patriarchs - as being
the vicar of Christ our Lord over all people, and
the universal church of Christ, and whosoever
shall contradict this, is excommunicated.
The same is declared by the General Council of
Chalcedon, Sess. 15, Can. 58, A. D. 451. And in
all subsequent general councils down to the last,
the General Council of Trent, A. D. 1545, the
bishop of Rome, with the unanimous consent of
all the bishops always presided.
Several learned Protestant divines own this pri
macy of the church of Rome, and acknowledge
Hugo Grotius, a celebrated Protestant divine,
who was very industrious in examining into the
root of all Protestant divisions, and very zealous
in composing them, positively declares in his last
work, written shortly before his death, "that there
can be no hopes of uniting Protestants among
themselves, except they are united together with
those who are in communion with the See of
Koine, Close of last reply to Rivet.
Melancthon likewise confesses that c the primacy
is even necessary for preserving unity.
144 A DEFENCE OF CATHOLIC PRINCIPLES.
What is the reason (says the above quoted
Grotius reply to Rivet, ad Art. 7,) that those
among Catholics, who differ in opinion, still re
main in the same body, without breaking commu
nion, and those among the Protestants who disa
gree, cannot do so, however they speak much
of brotherly love ? Whoever will consider this
aright, will find how great is the effect of primacy.
c As certain bishops (says Melancthon) preside
over many churches, so the bishop of Rome is
president over all bishops. And this canonical
policy, no wise man, I think, does or ought to
disallow, for the monarchy of the bishop of Rome
is, in my judgment, profitable to this end, that
consent of doctrine may be retained. Wherefore
an agreement may easily be established in this
article of the Pope s supremacy, if other articles
could be agreed upon, Cent. Epist. Theol. 74.
Mr. Thorndike, another celebrated Protestant
divine, confesses that c a pre-eminency of power
and not of rank only, has been acknowledged
originally in the church of Rome, Epic. L. 3, cap.
20, p. 179.
I have in my possession a letter, written by
Martin Luther to Pope Leo the tenth, dated A. i>.
1-518, and printed among the other works oi
.^uther, in Jena, A. p. 1579, vol. i. p. 74. This
locument is of so much the more importance as
it proves beyond the possibility of a doubt, that
A DEFENCE OF CATHOLIC PRINCIPLES. J4.5
Martin Luther, the father of the pretended Refor
mation, at the date of the letter, acknowledged
the bishop of Rome as the head of the church,
and his lawful superior, and that if he afterwards
.ejected the same authority, it was evidently the
effect of passion, spite and malice, produced by
the sentence of excommunication, w^hich the Pope
pronounced against him; in this we are confirmed
by the indecent, scurrilous and malicious lan
guage made use of by Luther after his excommu
nication, whenever he speaks of the Pope.
I shall only quote two passages of Luther s
letters to the Pope, the beginning and the conclu
Epistola Luther i ad Lconem X. Rom. Pont.
Beatissimo patri Leoni Decimo Pont. Max. F.
Martinus Lutherus Jlugastinianus cBternam salu-
^Jluditum audivi de me passinum Beatissime
Pater , quo intelligi, quosdam amicos fecisse no-
men meum gravissime cor am te et tuts foztere^ ut
quia auctoritaiem et potestatem clavium, et summi
pontificis minuere molitus sim sed rem ip-
sam, Beatissime Pater, digneres audire ex mej $c.
In English :
Epistle of Luther to Leo X. Roman Pontiff
To the most holy father Leo the tenth, sove
reign Pontiff, brother Martin Luther of -the ordei
of St. Augustine, wishes eternal welfare.
146 A DEFENCE OF CATHOLIC PRINCIPLES.
1 I am informed, most holy father, that you have
heard of me the very worst, and understand that
certain friends have brought my name into very
bad repute before you, &c., saying that I am trying
to lessen the authority and power of the keys and
of the sovereign Pontiff but deign, most holy
father, to hear the whole business from me, &c.
Luther concludes the letter with the following
* Quare, Beatissime Pater, prostratum mepedi-
bus tucB beatitudinis offero cum omnibus, qua
sum et habeo. Vivifica, occide, voca, revoca, appro-
ba, reproba, ut placuerit ; vocem tuam, vocem
Christiin te prcesidentis et loquentis agnoscamj
&c. In English :
* Therefore, most holy father, prostrate at the
feet of your holiness, I offer myself and all I have.
Vivify, kill, call, recall, approve or reprove as
you please, in your voice I acknowledge the
voice of Christ, who presides and speaks to you,
* Such was the language of Luther till his doctrine
was condemned, when he shook off all authority,
and set up the tribunal of his own private judgment.
No sooner had he done so than his disciples, pro
ceeding on the same principle, undertook to prove
that his own doctrine was erroneous. Carlstadt,
Zuinglius, Oecolampadius, Mimcer, and several others
A DEFENCE OF CATHOLIC PRINCIPLES. 147
I shall not be detained in defending the tem
poral power exercised by some Popes. That the
Pope has any such power, was never an arti
cle of faith. It is true that this power has been
assumed and exercised. Yet candour requires
that we should view history as it is in itself, and
not as it appears through the prism of misrepre
sentation. When ignorance and barbarity, which
were the natural consequences of the dissolution
of the Roman empire, and of the invasion of the
of his followers, wrote and preached against him and
against each other with the utmost virulence. In
vain did he claim a superiority over them; in vain
did he denounce hell-fire against them ; he had the
mortification to see his assumed authority, as well
as threats, totally disregarded by them. His follow
ers continued to act in open defiance of him, till their
mutual abuse became so scandalous as to fill the
more moderate among them with grief and shame.
Experience convinced them that for preserving unity
of faith, and regularity of discipline, a fixed supreme
authority is required. Capito, minister of Strasburg,
writing to Farel, pastor of Geneva, thus complains to
him, God has given me to understand the mischief
we have done, by our precipitancy in breaking with
the Pope, &c. Dudith, another Reformer, writing to
Beza, says, in what single point are those churches
which have declared war against the Pope, agreed
amongst themselves ?
AS A DEFENCE OF CATHOLIC PRINCIPLES.
barbarians, had spread all over Europe, national
and civil wars were the order of the day. Na
tions were arrayed against nations, kings and
emperors against each other; myriads of petty
chieftains, each one with his retinue, were laying
waste the whole face of Europe. No safety was
to be found; but destruction, violence, murder
and bloodshed were to be met with every where.
Among the laity there were none who knew how,
or were willing or able to administer justice. In
that general desolation, it was but natural that
both the people and their chiefs should turn their
attention towards the See of Peter, on which sat
men to whom their eminent virtue and science
gave a moral influence which placed them above
all their contemporaries. All were anxious to
take refuge under their protection. It was not
the Popes who sought for power, but it was
power which forced itself, as it were, upon the
Popes. The people were like children calling on
their common father to preserve them from de
struction. Had the Pope turned a deaf ear to
their call, he would have been accused of egotism
and indifference; he protected them, and he is
accused of ambition, of thirst of power, &c. as
wfill might a young man who has become of age,
accuse his guardian of ambition, because during
his infancy, he watched over his interests.
It is a remarkable fact, that whenever the Pope
A DEFENCE OF CATHOLIC PRINCIPLES. 149
has exercised that temporal power which is the
object of so much and so bifeter censure, lie has
exercised it for the interest of the people against
their oppressors, by deciding that they were no
longer, in conscience, bound to obey those princes
who instead of acting the part of fathers towards
their subjects, had become their insufferable ty
rants. It is also remarkable, that *n those memo
rable occasions, when the Pope is said to have
deprived princes of their dominions, it was never
for his own benefit, and they never acquired an
inch of ground for themselves.
In short, the exercise of that power was ground
ed on the general jurisprudence of those times,,
and princes thems-elves contributed and gare sanc
tion to it, by frequently applying to the holy See
for the settlement of their temporal concerns.
Thus, the accusation of ambition, pride, &c. against
the Popes, disappears, when the facts are accu
rately investigated, and truly stated.
What is called the patrimony of St. Peter, is an
estate which the Pope owes to the munificence ot
his powerful friends, and which he has possessed
for upwards of a thousand years; and when he
has taken up arms, it has been either to protect it
against aggressors, or to rescue it from the hands
of those who had invaded it unjustly.
I shall never try to defend the conduct of all
our Popes. Peter denied his master ; is it a won
150 A DEFENCE OF CATHOLIC PRINCIPLES.
der then if among so many of his successors, some
should be found guilty of prevarications ? Some,
no doubt, were far from being edifying in their
conduct. Christ foresaw it ; what he says of the
Pharisees and Jewish doctors may be said of
them. The Pharisees and Scribes have sitten
upon the chair of Moses. All therefore whatso
ever they shall say unto you, observe and do ; but
according to their works do ye not, Matt, xviii.
Although in their capacity as men, some Popes
have exhibited proofs of their weakness and cor
ruption, yet as heads of the church, they have all
during these eighteen hundred years taught one
and the same Catholic doctrine.
If the abuse of power were conclusive against
the title of him who exercises it, there would be
no longer any authority upon earth. On the con
trary, I may safely advance, that the real or sup
posed abuse of power by some Popes, not only
proves nothing against the solidity of their title,
but is an argument in favour of its existence.
If we take a retrospective view of the history
<of the world, we shall find that abuses of power
have almost always been attended with the de
struction of the power in which they originated.
Thus the abuse of regal power turned Rome into
a republic; the abuse of republican power, turned
republican Rome into imperial Rome. Thus the
A DEFENCE OF CATHOLIC PRINCIPLES. 15*
abuse of imperial power turned Switzerland ami
other countries of Europe into republics, by abo
lishing the authority abused. Thus the abuse ot
English power turned the United States into a
republic, by abolishing in these States the power
What is the reason then that the abuses of
papal power, supposing them to be as great and
numerous as you represent them to be, have not
been attended with the same consequences, the
destruction of the papal power itself? Why does
that power, after a lapse of eighteen hundred
years, still continue to be acknowledged by three-
fourths of Christendom.
Christ gives the answer to this interesting
query; Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will
build my church, and the gates of hell shall not
prevail against it, Matt. 16 18.
Attacked with the most relentless fury for ages.
by the combined efforts of hell and earth, b\
fierce enemies in and out of the Catholic Church
apparently on the brink of destruction, its down
fall has often been prophesied.
Many of the sovereign Pontiffs fell victims to
those persecutions. The. majestic rock of St.
Peter remained, Peter wa^ put to death. r \a?. the
VII. was banished and kept in close confinement.
During the period of about eighteen hundred
years, from Peter to Pius the VIT. the chair of St
152 A DEFENCE OF CATHOLIC PRINCIPLES.
Peter has still been occupied, and we have upon
the records of the Catholic Church, the names of
more than two hundred and fifty sovereign Pontiffe,
who followed one another in regular succession,
on the chair of St. Peter; a great number of whom
died martyrs for their faith, very few of whom
can be said to have been scandalous.
Mr. Hume, who certainly will not be suspected
of partiality for the Catholic religion, owns that
although Hhe Popes sometimes misused the au
thority they had, they most commonly made a
laudable and humane use of it, by promoting peace
among Christian princes, by uniting them against
the hordes of barbarians who were extending
every day their bloody conquests, by repressing
simony, violence and every kind of excess, which
overbearing, cruel masters committed against their
weak, oppressed subjects ; it served to make, of
the whole Christian world, one great family, whose
differences were adjusted by ne common father,
the Pontiff of the God of concord and justice,. A
grand and affecting idea that, of the most extensive
and the noblest administration that could be
From what I have stated, you will plainly see,
dear sir, that all that can be alleged of the criminal
conduct or abuse of power of some Popes, makes
nothing against the Catholic Church. It only
proves that Popes are subject to human frailties
A DEFENCE OF CATHOLIC PRINCIPLES. J O J
in common with the rest of mankind; that with
the Ron/an orator, they have a right to say, homo
swm, humani niliil a me alicnum puto ? and that no
power or authority, how great soever; no charac
ter, how sacred soever ; affords sufficient security
against the corruption of human nature, and the
influence of the passions.
Far from affording an argument against the
Catholic Church, J rather think that the corruption
of Popes, and of the clergy, admitting it to exist
even beyond the limits our adversaries would fain
wish to suppose, affords a powerful argument in
favour of the Catholic Church.
Any person possessing the least knowledge of
the nature of man, and versed in the history of
religion, will own that religious opinions have but
too often originated in the passions and the cor
rupted heart of man, their dictates being too often
mistaken for those of cool and impartial reason :
neither will it be denied that the great variety of
religious systems (which may be counted by hun
dreds) contradicting and condemning one another,
owe their origin to the variety of human passions
and interests. Before the coming of Christ, the
objects of religious worship were more spiritual,
or more carnal, according to the impulse given to
the hearts of men, by their respective passions,
either towards spiritual or carnal objects. The
world embracing Christianity, has introduced into
154 A DEFENCE OF CATHOLIC PRINCIPLES.
the church its corruption and its passions. Al
though men ruled by the same passions, are. by
the overwhelming force of evidence, prevented
from mistaking the main object of their worship,
which is Jesus Christ, yet being under the in
fluence of these various passions and interests.
thfv pretend to find out various ways of going to
Jesus, ways more easy, more smooth, in short
more congenial to each one s passions and incli
nations ; ways more spiritual or more carnal ,
ways all differing from the old narrow road which
alone was pointed out by Jesus Christ as leading
to him. Now, sir, starting from this undeniable
position, and admitting Popes, clergy, and if you
choose, lay-people of the Catholic Church by
millions, to have been very much corrupted, the
Popes and cfergy to have been ruled by pride,
ambition, covetousness, and all the passions that
corrupted hearts are subject to ; to have set up
and enforced the most extravagant claims, to have
with Satan equalled themselves to the Most High ;
if notwithstanding this sink of corruption, if not
withstanding the wonderful irritation and opposi
tion which such tyrannical claims and acts must
have produced, if notwithstanding this dreadful
conflict of passions and clashing of interest, the
Catholic Church has still continued to this dav
during a period of eighteen centuries, to preserve
its perfect unity, has still continued to acknow-
A DEFENCE OF CATHOLIC PRINCIPLES. 155
. edge the same power, and the same head, though
guilty of such enormous abuses, must we not
confess, that here is the hand of the Most High ?
Travel over all the Catholic countries of Europe,
why has the demon of discord, who has so many
times overturned their governments by the most
dreadful revolutions ; why have the furious tem
pests rais ed by human passions, that have divided,
destroyed, leveled with the ground so many hu
man institutions, that seemed to bid defiance to
time ; why have they not been able to divide, to
destroy Catholic unity, to hurl the Pope from the
See of St. Peter; to emancipate Catholics from
the tyrannical yoke (as it is called) of the Roman
The answer is plain.
The Catholic Church, the See of St. Peter,
Catholic unity, are all the work of God, which
man cannot destroy.
Popes, Bishops and Priests, as individuals, are
subject to all the passions, and form of themselves
nothing but a dead body, which, like any other
h :man body, would soon become a prey to cor
ruption and dissolution, were it not, according to
tLe promise of Jesus Christ, animated, vivified and
preserved forever in perfect unity by the holy
spirit of truth. The Holy Ghost being the sou]
of that body, keeps it alive, keeps it, head and
members, in unity and harmony. Being itself the
156 A DEFENCE OF CATHOLIC 1 KINCIPLES.
foundation of truth and holiness, it dispels the
mists of falsehood and corruption, which the
malice of Satan and the passions of individuals,
whether clergy or lay-people, often cause to arise
in order to obscure the bright and pure rays of
Divine revelation. Thus the abuses in the church,
whether in the members or the head, are reformed
by the church, and the words of Christ accom
plished, the gates of hell shall not prevail against
I shall take but little time to refute the false and
ridiculous charge of those who accuse our Popes
of granting indulgences to commit sin, requiring
a certain sum of money, greater or smaller, ac
cording to the kind of sin for which the indul
gence is granted.
That such a charge is frequently published in
Protestant books, and from Protestant pulpits,
you will not deny. Now, all Catholic books,
sanctioned by the church, no matter where or
when published, tell you plainly, that an indul
gence is nothing but a remission or relaxation of
certain temporal punishments, remaining due to
sin, after the guilt and eternal punishment are re
mitted, as in the case of David, to whom Nathan
said, the Lord hath taken away thy sin ; never
theless the child that is born to thee shall
surely die, 2 Kings xii. 13, 14.
Such indulgences are granted upon the sinner s
A DEFENCE OF CATHOLIC PRINCIPLES. 1<37
sincere repentance, and satisfaction for his past
sins; the Apostles and their successors having
received from Christ full authority to forgive the
sins of those who are judged worthy of forgive
ness. There is no doubt, but owing to the per-
verseness of many individuals among the clergy,
the most shocking abuses have taken place some
times in the dispensation of indulgences ; how
ever, as these abuses were not sanctioned, but
reprobated by the church, as you can see if you
read chap. ix. of the 21st Sess. and Decretum d,-
tndulgentiis of the 25th Sess. of the Council of
Trent, they of course make nothing against the
holiness, purity and infallibility of the church of
Christ, and only prove, that all human flesh is
subject to infirmities.
I believe, dear sir, that I have fulfilled my pro
mise, and proved to every body s satisfaction, thai
Roman Catholics are not guilty of superstition in
submitting to the spiritual jurisdiction of St. Peter
and of his successors, the sovereign Pon tills or
Bishops of Rome.
Permit me to add a few words more on another
important subject, on which our doctrine is grossly
misrepresented, 1 mean the doctrine of the Catho
lic Church on toleration.
158 A DEFENCE OF CATHOLIC PRINCIPLES.
WE aie represented as the most intolerant set
of men upon earth. The most cruel, the most
uncharitable intolerance is laid to our charge ;*
* A favourite topic with most Protestant writers, is, to
charge the Catholic Church with a spirit of persecution.
They constantly describe her as intolerant, and as claiming
the right of punishing those who differ from her, with fire
and sword. This is a malicious accusation, intended to
excite hatred against her. The Catholic Church neither
does, nor ever did claim any such right. Persecuting
laws, it is true, have been made and acted upon by several
Catholic princes, who, for the most part, judged such ne
cessary to preserve the ancient order of things, and pre
vent the anarchy which attended reforming principles Is
it fair then, to ascribe what has been done, chiefly from
motives of state policy, to the persecuting spirit of the
church ? But has not persecution been practised by
Protestants in every country in which they have acquired
power; and this not only against Catholics, but even fel
low Protestants ? Witness the conduct of the first settlers
in New England. It may here be asked, can our accusers
show in the statutes of any Catholic country, any to be
compared with the demoralizing and inhuman penal laws
of England and Ireland ? What Catholics have for centu
ries suffered from religious persecution in thi* latter coi:r:-
try alone, may be safely said to counterbalance all that
Protestants have suffered on the score of religion through
out the rest of the world. Such writers then as represent
the Catholic religion as essentially intolerant, and the
A DEFENCE OF CATHOLIC PRINCIPLES. 1^9
but this charge against us probably proceeds from
a misunderstanding of our doctrine on that subject.
The question here is not about civil toleration.
Catholics and Protestants are united in considering
civil toleration an invaluable blessing, especially
in a country like ours, where there were so many
different denominations at the time its constitution
was formed. We all agree in believing, that no
authority, merely human, possesses any right of
controlling the consciences of men.
The question then before us is concerning theo
logical toleration, viz. whether Almighty God can
approve of so many different religious systems,
which we find established upon earth; whethei
all these different religious systems can be consi
dered as so many different ways to heaven. If
so, we ought to be in favour of universal toleration.
The Catholic Church teaches, that Jesus Christ
established but one church for the salvation of
man, and that out. of that one church salvation is
not to be had.
The written word is very plain on this subject:
There shall be made one fold and one pastor,
John x. 16. C I beseech you, that you <dl speak
Protestant as alone admitting; toleration, shows any thing
but candour. It would seem that they either have unac
countably forgotten the existence of the above laws, still
in several instances acted upon, or imagined their readers
o ignorant, as not to know that such existed.
160 A PEFENCE OF CATHOLIC PRINCIPLES
one thing, and that there be no schisms among
you, but that you be perfect in one sense and one
judgment, 1 Cor. i. 10.
Christ prayed that his disciples might be one,
John xvii. 11.
One Lord, one faith, one baptism, Ephes. iv. 5.
k He that believeth not shall be condemned, Mar.
xvi. 16. Without faith it is impossible to please
God, Heb. xi. 6.
I believe one holy Catholic and Apostolic
Church, says the Nicene Creed, which is admitted
by both Catholics and Protestants.
This is the Catholic faith, (says the Creed of
St. Athanasius, likewise admitted by Catholics and
Protestants,) which if any one does not faithfully
and firmly believe, he cannot be saved.
Several creeds and professions of faith which I
have carefully perused, very plainly and unequivo
cally assert, that out of the church, which is but
one, salvation cannot be obtained: so says the
church of England, so says the church of Scot
land, &.c. What, indeed, can be more reasonable .
And what, on the other hand, more unreasonable,
more absurd, than universal toleration ? To be
convinced of it, it is only necessary to examine
what true religion is.
True religion is an institution of which God
himself is the founder. It is an institution in
which God makes known to man what he must
A DEFENCE OF CATHOLIC PRINCIPLES. Ifoj
believe, and what he must do in order to obtain
salvation. It is a system, not the offspring of
human reason, not the result of human philoso
phy, not the ingenious contrivance of humu i
talents and learning; it originates in the fountain
of eternal and infinite wisdom, and was by the
supreme authority of God, established on earth,
to control both the understanding and the will of
man, dictating to his understanding what he must
believe, and to his will what he must submit to do
in order to obtain salvation. It will not be denied,
that God has as much right to control our under
standing, to require a submission of our under
standing to the belief of whatever mysteries he
chooses to reveal, as he has to control our will to
submit to his commandments. It will be also ac
knowledged, that God alone can save man, that
God alone can institute a religion, worthy of him
self, and adequate to supply all the spiritual wants
and necessities of man, a religion, in which all
those heavenly blessings are administered, which
transform the carnal into a spiritual man, and
finally into a citizen of heaven. God alone can
draw man out of the mire of original corruption,
and he alone has a right to determine by what
means this wonderful change from depravity to
innocence is to take place. None can attach to
the weak element of water the power of perform
ing this astonishing change.
162 A DEFENCE OF CATHOLIC PRINCIPLES.
None but Got! can wash away the iniquities of
man, can restore to him his sanctifying grace, and
none, except him, has a right to determine the
means by, and the conditions upon which, this
blessing of reconciliation and forgiveness is to be
None but God can feed and nourish the soul of
man, or arm that soul with power sufficient to
overcome his spiritual enemies, and to persevere
to the last breath in the performance of his duty,
and in the service of his Creator.
In short, sir, whatever blessings we stand in
need of none but God can convey them, or deter
mine the precise manner in which we are to obtain
them. To say that man, even the wisest man,
may by the force of reasoning, contrive a religious
system, calculated to answer the above purposes,
is to equal him to God.
Religion, then, is that divine institution of God s
own creation, in which is shown to man the way
to glorify God, and to procure everlasting happi
ness to his own soul. In it are established by
Jesus Christ, certain rites or ceremonies, as so
many channels to convey to our souls those mani
fold blessings, which we stand in need of. Those
rites are called sacraments, and must be precisely
the *-ery thing that Jesus Christ instituted. If
they are only of t^e institution of man, they are;
no longer entitled to religious respect, as man lias
A DEFENCE OF CATHOLIC PRINCIPLES 163
not the power to annex heavenly blessings to the
performing of certain external acts. I shall ex
plain this general position by a few examples.
Jesus Christ has annexed, to the pouring of
water on a person, and the pronouncing of the
words, I baptize thee in the name of the Father,
and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, the grace
of cleans-ing that person from the guilt of original
sin. So we are told by the church, the infallible
interpreter of God s word.
Pray, sir, would it be in the power of man to
substitute some other words and ceremonies, and
to make them equally efficacious in conveying the
same blessing ? I believe not. Jesus Christ has
annexed to the words, dbsolvo te a peccatis tuis,
(I absolve thee from thy sins,) when pronounced
by a lawful successor of the Apostles, the power
of really remitting sins, provided the sinner is
well disposed. So we are told again by the
infallible interpreter of God s word. Pray, sir,
would it be in the power of man to give the same
efficacy to some other words of his own contri
vance ? I think not.
Jesus Christ has annexed to the imposition of
nands by legally consecrated bishops, and to the
pronouncing of certain words, the power of com
municating the Holy Ghost, which rile we call the
sacrament of confirmation. So we are told again
by the church Is it in the power of man by
164 A DEFENCE OF CATHOLIC PRINCIPLES.
some other ceremonies and words of his own
contrivance, to impart the Spirit of God to his
fellow-mortals ? Certainly not.
It is obvious then, that none but the one system
of religion, which Jesus Christ himself established.
is entitled to any religious respect whatever, hi
that one alone are to be found the true Scripture,
the true interpreter of Scripture, the true word of
God, the true sacrifice, the true sacraments ; only
in that one system of religion are to be found the
true ministry of Christ, the power of the keys,
&c. Reform that system of religion in one only
point and you deform it, you change the work of
God into the work of man. Denominate this
doctrine uncharitable, cruel, barbarous, or what
ever you please, it is beyond all doubt the doc
trine of truth and common sense, and of course,
the only one which genuine charity will make use
of, because it is the duty of charity, to lead along
the thorny paths of truth, and not along the en
chanting and flowery roads of falsehood ano
deception. I here appeal not to your learning,
not to your genius and talents, but only to your
common sense, which enables you to know, that
black is not white ; and 1 ask you, whether it be
uncharitable to teach that contradictory systems
of religion cannot all proceed from the holy spirit
of truth ; whether it be uncharitable to say, that
of a hundred religious systems contradicting one
A DEFENCE )F CATHOLIC PRINCIPLES, ] 65
another in some point or other, only one can pos
sibly be true, only one can proceed from the
spirit of truth? When we hear one minister
preaching up the necessity of baptism for salva
tion, and another promising 1 salvation without bap
tism, is it uncharitable to say, that one of them is
the minister of error, and not of Christ? When
we hear one minister declare infants not admissi
ble to baptism, and another, on the contrary, in
sisting on the necessity of baptizing infants, is it
uncharitable to say, that one must be a teacher of
Is it uncharitable to say, that if Calvin is right,
Luther must be wrong; if Arminius teacheth the
truth, Gomar must be a teacher of falsehood; if
Socinus is the teacher of pure and undefiled truth,
Luther, Calvin, Arminius, Melancthon, Fox, Zuin-
glius, &c. &c. must all be ministers of error.
Or will it be more charitable, (adding blasphemy
to deception,) to say, as the independent minister
appears to do, page 58, that all these different
teachers, although contradicting c.:ie another in
most essential points, are all ministers of the God
of truth? He makes mention of no less than
seventy odd names of persons who were raised,
he says, li y the Almighty, from the seventh to the
sixteenth century, to oppose the errors of the
church or Rome, many of whom differed more
from one another in matters of faith, than they
166 A DEFENCE OF CATHOLIC PRINCIPLES.
did from the Catholic Church. It appears then
that he, with many more of his colleagues, admits
but one criterion of the true faith, viz. that of pro
testing against the holy Catholic Church. Thus
when Luther pleads the necessity of baptism, and
the real presence of Christ in the eucharist, he
will say, the man is right. When Fox reject?
baptism, eucharist, and all other sacraments, he>
with the political Tinker, will say again, 1he man
is right. When Calvin, differing from both, sees
nothing in the eucharist but signs or symbols of
the flesh and blood of Christ, again he will say,
the man is right.
When Wickliff rises up against almost all divine
and human institutions, and tries to establish his
abominable system of liberty and independence,
which caused so much blood to flow, here again,
I t1ie man is right.
The independent minister, and I believe, all our
modern ministers, those I mean, who would appear
liberal, charitable, and 1 suppose, fashionable, will
tell you, that all those men, and many more, were
true ministers of God. They will tell you, for
sooth, that they evinced their divine mission by
opposing, by protesting against the church of
Thus is common sens-e sacrificed at the shiine
of spite and malice, and a most impious, blasphe
mous system, a compound of the most palpable
A DEFENCE OF CATHOLIC PRINCIPLES. 167
contradictions, obtruded on the ignorant and the
prejudiced, as the pure religion of Jesus, under
the name of Protestant religion.
Here are toleration and liberality extending to
all sorts of creeds, but excluding the greatest
number of the Christian people.
You will hardly call such a toleration and
liberality charitable, as on the one hand it makes
too many exceptions, aixl on the other hand, as T
have proved, it is not founded upon truth, and
cannot meet the approbation of common sense ; ii
is a deceptive kind of charity, it calls out peace,
peace, and there is no peace ; it lulls the unhappy
sinner into false security, and under the pompous
names of Reformation, Protestantism, &c. leads
him far away from the only true church of Jesus
Catholic intolerance is both rational and chari
table ; it is founded upon the immovable rock of
eternal truth. Sure of the assistance of Christ for
ever, sure of being directed by the spirit of truth
into the one truth for ever, the holy Catholic
Church has at all times condemned as heresy,
any doctrine contradicting her doctrine.
As a tender mother and faithful spouse of Jesus
Cm 1st, she has always, in the spirit of charity,
endeavoured to preserve her children from the
delusive and flowery paths of heresy ; and in the
most sorrowful accents, she prays, she entreats
168 A DEFENCE OF CATHOLIC PRINCIPLES.
those that have left her. to return to her pale
She perseveres in fervent prayers for the conver
sion of her strayed children, and would fain carry
them back upon her shoulders to the only one
fold of Christ. Is not this genuine charity ?
Moreover, whilst the holy Catholic Church
guided for ever by the Holy Ghost, fulminates her
anathemas against all kinds of heresies or false
doctrines, she feels nothing but charity and com
passion for so many individuals born in heterodox
societies. She charitably supposes several of
them honest in their errors, invincibly ignorant
of the true church, and consequently excusable in
the sight of God. But still she deplores their
misfortune of being deprived of so many means
of salvation, not to be found out of her pale.
Catholic intolerance then, exhibits stronger
features of genuine and practical charity, than
Protestant toleration and liberality. Yet 1 must
confess its sound is harsher, and by no means so
melodious as the syren song of deception and
flattery, which calls every system, the true church
of Christ, provided it protests against the Catholic
The observation made by Tertullian in his time,
was, that c the sole principle of unky amongst
heretics, is the hatred of Catholicity.- The same
may be truly applied to the numerous sects of the
present day, which seem to have no other link of
A DEFENCE OF CATHOLIC PRINCIPLES. 189
unity than their hostility to the parent church,
which they have all abandoned. This seems
their only rallying point, for whether we look to
the Old World or the New, we will see the singu
lar spectacle of men differing from one another in
faith, as widely as earth from heaven, yet uniting
in opposing that of Catholics. Nay, this ani
mosity has long since been judged the criterion,
not only of Protestant orthodoxy, but of Pro
testant loyalty, since the British legislature re
quired of the members of both houses of parlia
ment, as a necessary condition before taking their
seats, to swear that they believed the Catholic
worship to be superstitious, idolatrous and damna
ble ! Provided they held this fundamental point,
they were at perfect liberty to hold any other
religious opinion, or none if they pleased.
I HAVE endeavoured to explain the most essen
tial articles of Catholic faith, in order to prove
that we are not guilty of superstition, and I hope
that with the candid, I have succeeded.^ Those
who are not sincere, who with seeing eyes will
not see, I cannot expect to convince. Many
points of minor importance I have omitted, not
wishing to swell my defence into a large volume
170 A DEFENCE OF CATHOLIC PRINCIPLES.
Thus, I have said nothing about the sign of the
cross, about holy water, blessed salt, blessed can
dles, and many more things made use of by
Catholics. It is surprising indeed, that people
who call themselves Christians, should be scanda
lized at the sign of their redemption. Freemasons
have their signs, and many other societies have
their signs; soldiers have their signs and counter
signs; pray, why should the soldier of Jesus
Christ not be permitted to arm himself with the
sign of the standard of Christianity, under which
our chief conquered the powers of hell, and under
which alone the Christian soldier is to conquer ?
Tertullian testifies (in his book de Corona Militis)
that the practice of making the sign of the cross
is most ancient and most common in the church
Pray, how will those feel, who despise and
ridicule that practice, when they shall SEE THE
SIGN OF THE SON OF MAN appear in heaven?
Matt. xxiv. 30.
As for holy water, blessed salt, and many other
things blessed by the prayers of the church, I do
not understand how they can become any subject
of scandal to any one believing in the power of
If inanimate things have been cursed by God s
infinite justice in punishment of the sin of our
first parents. (Gen. iii. 17,) that curse cannot be
A DEFENCE OF CATHOLIC PRINCIPLES. 171
removed and changed into a blessing, but by the
power and the merits of Jesus Christ. This su
preme power, confided by Christ to his ministers,
Matt, xxviii. 18, is exercised by them in blessing
water, salt, and many other things, for the use of
Where is the superstition in believing that those
elements, created for the use of man, but cursed
by a justly irritated God, may be blessed again
and sanctified by the prayers of the church,
through the merits of Jesus Christ.
Instances are so very common of the good
effects produced by the use of holy water, blessed
salt, and many other blessed things, that it would
take volumes to publish them all. I have been
frequently applied to by parents, whose children
were afflicted with the most strange and unac
countable symptoms, and have found that, after
all the powers of medicine had been tried in vain.
a little blessed salt, or some other things, blessed
by the prayers of the church, through the merits
of Jesus Christ, very often performed a complete
If you were to read the memoirs of those mis
sionaries, who, with unabated zeal, and often at
the expense of their blood, converted millions of
idolaters in Canada, South America, the East
Indies, China, Cochin China, Siam, Persia, 8u\
you would find instances by hundreds, of the
172 A DEFENCE Ol CATHOLIC PRINCIPLES.
efficacy of the sign of the cross, holy water,. kc
in banishing evil spirits, and destroying that
power, which those infernal spirits frequently
exercise over the souls, bodies and property of
those who are guilty of idolatry, of which we
find so many instances in the New Testament.
God has chosen the weak things of this world,
that he might confound the strong, 1 Cor. i. 27.
The efficacy of blessed things is so well known
to many Protestants, that it is not very uncommon
to see Protestants apply to Catholic priests for
holy water, blessed salt, blessed candles, &c. To
believe that any miraculous power or virtue
naturally resides in that water, salt, or any other
of God s inanimate creatures, would be supersti
tion indeed, but to believe that the infinite power
and goodness of Jesus Christ, exercised by the
church, may apply a certain blessing to those
inanimate creature-s, so as to render them pro
ductive of certain happy effects, when applied to
man, is no more superstition, than to believe that
the waters of the Jordan, through the power of
God, became instrumental in curing the leprosy
of Naaman, 4 Kings v. 14.
Our age, dear sir, is the age of incredulity, com
monly called the age of philosophy. It is almost
fashionable to disbelieve, to reject with disdain and
contempt, every thing which we cannot perceive
our carnal senses, or compass with our limited
A DEFENCE OF CATHOLIC PRINCIPLES. 173
and much corrupted understanding. At the hour
of death, at the entrance of eternity, when the
senses shall have lost their baneful influence, am!
corrupted reason shall have been almost extin
guished, we shall remember that God, who can do
what he pleases, to whom the laws of nature are
subject, who can and does, for his own glory and
the salvation of man, subvert those very laws, as
he did through the ministry of Moses, when ho
opened the Red Sea, as he did again through the
ministry of Joshua, when he stopped the sun in
its course. We shall then remember that, there is
a God of truth, who ought to be believed, who
must be believed, and as much so, when what he
reveals is incomprehensible, as when it is ever so
plain; as much so, when what he reveals appears
contrary to the laws of nature, as when his reve
lations are in unison with those laws.
Permit me, sir, to close my subject by contract
ing into as narrow . a compass as possible, and
exhibiting before your eyes, under one point of
view, all the sublime mysteries of our creed,
which have been explained to you one by one.
I believe in God the Father Almighty, creator
of heaven and earth. 1 As Father, he loves us, as
God, his love to us is infinite, and as Almighty,
he can do whatever he pleases, to shew his love
And in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord,
174 A DEFENCE OF CATHOLIC PRINCIPLES.
both God and man, our only Redeemer, only as
man subject to sufferings, and only as God able to
"Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born
of the Virgin Mary. Jesus Christ then was both
God and man, whilst enclosed in the womb of the
Virgin Mary. The Virgin Mary, is of course, the
mother of Jesus Christ, both God and man, and
consequently she is entitled to the highest honour
which it is possible for man to exhibit to the most
honourable and the most perfect of God s crea
Suffered under Pontius Pilate, was cruciiied.
dead and buried. Suffered out of infinite love to
man, the most cruel torments that the malice of
hell and earth could inflict on him ; suffered unto
death, that we may live.
fc He descended into hell ; the third day he arose
again from the dead. He descended n.ot into the
hell of the damned, but as St. Peter explains it,
(1 Peter, iii. 18, 19, 20,) into that .prison, or place
of temporal punishment, in which were detained
many souls, that had departed befor.e the coming
He ascended into heaven ; sits a.t the right hand
of God the Father Almighty. There his merits
are continually pleading in our behalf, there he is
our high priest for ever, according to the order of
Melchisedech, there he continually guides and
A DEFENCE OF CATHOLIC PR-IISTCIPLES. ] 75
protects his church, being with his ministers to
the end of time, protecting them against t.e spirit
of error and darkness, according to his repeated
promises, Matt, xxviii. 20, John xvi. 13, &c.
From thence he shall come to judge the living
and the dead; to give everlasting life to those who
had the true faith, being members of the only true
Catholic Church, and who led a holy life; and to
punish with everlasting torments those who did
not believe, Mark xvi. 16; those who, through
their own fault, were not members of his only
true Catholic Church, and those who led an un
godly life, Matt. xvi. 27.
4 1 believe in the Holy Ghost; who proceeds
from the Father and the Son, and is equal to them ;
who was promised by Jesus Christ to his church.
John xiv. 26, and xvi. 13 ; who actually came
upon the Apostles on Whitsunday, Acts ii. 1 4 ;
who has enabled them and their successors to this
day, and will enable them to the end of time, to
persevere in the true and genuine doctrine of
Jesus Christ, without deviating from it in one
single point, John xiv. 16, 17, 18.
The holy Catholic Church; that church of
which Jesus Christ is the architect, built upon a
rock, to stand for ever, in spite of all the efforts
of hell, Matt. xvi. 18, xxviii. 20 ; that church is
the house of the living God, 1 Tim. iii. 15 ; the
kingdom of Christ, Luke i. 33, Dan. ii. 44; the
176 A DEFENCE OF CATHOLIC PRINCIPLES.
sheep-fold of Christ, John x. 16; the body of
which Christ is the head, Colos. i. 18, Ephes. v. 23;
the spouse of Christ, Ephes. v. 24 31 ; that
church is always subject and faithful to Christ,
Eph. v. 24 ; always without spot, wrinkle or blem
ish, always holy, Eph. v. 27; always loved and
cherished by him, Ephes. v. 25, 29, Ephes. v. 31,
33 ; that church is the pillar and ground of the
(ruth, 1 Tim. iii. 15 ; always one, Cantic. vi. 8, 9,
Joan. x. 16, Ephes. iv. 4, 5 ; always visible, Isa.
ii. 2, 3, Mich. iv. 1, 2, Matt. v. 14 ; always and
infallibly teaching the truth, the whole truth, and
nothing but the truth, Matt. xvi. 18, xxviii. 19, 20,
Joan. xiv. 16, 17, 26, xvi. 13, 1 Tim. iii. 14, 15,
That church of course can never stand in need
of reformation. The very attempt of man to re
form this, the most perfect, the most noble of all
the works of God, is a most daring, a most sacri
legious, most blasphemous act of impiety, of
which no precedent can be found, except in the
attempt made by Satan to equal himself to the
Most High, for which he was precipitated into the
eternal abyss. This holy Catholic Church is
spread over the universe, which makes it Catholic,
teaching every where the same doctrine, because
she is wholly inspired and directed by the holy
spirit of truth, John xiv. 16,17, 26, and always
guided by Christ, Matt xxviii. 20. The ministers
A DEFENCE OF CATHOLIC PRINCIPLES. 17?
of that church form but one body, of which St.
Peter and his successors were by divine authority
constituted heads, Matt. xvi. 18, 19, Luke xxii. 32,
Joan. xxi. 15, 16, 17.
"The communion of saints. In the church of
God, there is a communion of its members in
holy things, being partakers of the same . spiritual
blessings, sacraments, &c. which Christ empow
ered his church to administer. We likewise com
municate with the blessed saints in heaven. They
are already landed on the shores of eternal peace.
We are yet tossed by the raging billows of a tem
pestuous sea. We stretch out our hands to them
for help ; we beg their intercession to obtain a safe
landing. We meditate on their virtues ; we are
oncouraged by their examples; we confide much
in their charitable intercession, Revel, v. 8, Zach.
i. 12. 2,Macchab. xv.12 14, Tob. xii. 12, Heb. i.
14, Rev. ii. 26, 27, Luc. xv. 10, Mat. xviii. 10, &c.
Whilst we look up to the saints in heaven for
their help and assistance, we offer up our prayers
and intercession for those of our fellow-members,
who having died before they had fully satisfied
the justice of God, have yet to suffer for a time,
before they can be admitted into that sanctuary
where nothing defiled can enter, 1 Cor. iii. lo.
1 Pet. iii. 1820.
The forgiveness of sins. This forgiveness of
sins, originating in the infinite power and mercy
178 A DEFENCE OF CATHOLIC PlU^.r JPLES,
of God alone, and granted auieiy in considera
tion of the merits ol Christ, is administered to
us by the ministers of Christ in the holy Catholic
Church, first in the sacrament of baptism ; and
then again in the sacrament of penance, upon our
sincere repentance and conversion, and upon sin
cere confession, Matt, xviii. 18, John xx. 22. 23,
Acts xix. 18, James v. 16, &c.
The resurrection of the body, and life ever
lasting, Amen. A glorious resurrection of soul
and body, by which we are to become members
of the church triumphant of Jesus Christ, will bo
granted to those only, who have been true mem
bers of the only one and true church militant
of Christ on earth. And those who had not the
holy Catholic Church, the spouse of Christ, for
their mother, will find to their everlasting sorrow,
that they have not Jesus Christ for their Father
Permit me now, dear sir, to address you in the
spirit of charity, and to entreat you to meditate
seriously on the following solemn truths :
The day is fast approaching, when you and I
will be summoned before the dreaded tribunal of
Jesus Christ ; I, in the capacity of a Roman Ca
tholic p/iest; you, in the capacity of a Protestant
minister; both claiming the title of minister of
Christ. What will become of that one, who shall
not be able then to substantiate his claim, and to
A DEFENCE OF CATHOLIC PRINCIPLES. 179
establish his title. We may be suffered by a God
of infinite mercy and patience, to establish the
most unfounded, the most extravagant titles before
men; but will the illusion be suffered to continue
before the tribunal of eternal justice ? And will
not the bright rays of pure and undefiled truth
forever dissipate those foul and thick mists of
corruption, which in this world enabled us to
dupe ourselves and others ? Will not the two-
edged sword of truth cut off all those difficulties,
which our own corruption had raised as a bulwark
against the authenticated revelations of Jesus
Christ ? Will not the bright and dazzling rays
of glory, that shall emanate from the throne of
the Omnipotent Judge, be the most incontestable
proof of the divinity of his revelation, and of the
truth of those mysteries, against which proud and
corrupted reason suggested so many difficulties ?
When the sacred code shall be opened, by
which all Christians are to be tried, will it be per
mitted there, think you, to allege the foolish dic
tates of human philosophy, in opposition to the
plain revelations of that sacred code ? Will it be
permitted there, to talk about reforming the most
noble work of the great God ? \Vill it be per
mitted there, (by way of apology,) to tell Jesus
Christ, that he broke his repeated promises ? That
he had promised to be with his church to the end
of time, and yet that he had forsaken that church
180 A DEFENCE OF CATHOLIC PRINCIPLES.
and permitted it to go astray? That he had pro
mised the spirit of truth to it to guide it into all
the truth for ever, yet he had withdrawn that spirit
of truth, and permitted the church to become a
sink of errors and idolatry ? Will it be permitted
there, to call the plain ordinances of Jesus Christ,
Papis-t superstitions ? Will it be permitted there,
(by way of apology for not complying with his
ordinances,) to tell Jesus Christ that such and
such things were impossible ? That no man could
forgive sin, not even those, who most plainly and
distinctly had received that power from him ?
Will you be permitted there, think you, to tell
Jesus Christ to his face, that it was impossible for
him to give his flesh and blood under the appear
ance of bread and wine ? Will you there be per
mitted to allege the testimony of your corrupted
senses and limited reason, in opposition to the
plain and repeated assertions of Infinite Wisdom ?
Will it be permitted there, think you, in the
face of the cross, that sign of the Son of Man, to
ridicule those, who signed themselves with that
holy sign ? In short, sir, will it be permitted
there, to deceive yourself and others any longer ?
Corrupted reason sat upon the tribunal in this
world, and with more than Satanic presumption-,
summoned before it the tremendous mysteries
clearly and distinctly revealed by an Omnipotent
God, to be judged, to be approved or condemned.
A DEFENCE OF CATHOLIC PRINCIPLES. IS)
according to its own whimsical notions, and more
so according to its corrupt inclinations. The case
will be then reversed, infinite power and wisdom
will occupy the yiidgment seat; proud reason,
with all its boast of philosophy, will stand con
fused, appalled, convicted, and be forever silenced.
Will it be permitted to say, by way of apology,
I rejected such and such mysteries, Because I could
not understand them, or because they appeared to
me impossible ? But, you were not required to
understand them, you were only commanded to
listen and adore ; and this you could have done
as easily, as so many millions of persons, as wise
as yourself. Ah! sir, believe me, believe a per
son, who is sincerely concerned for the salvation
<if your soul ; the very garb which at present is
considered by you as a mark of distinction and
honour, will, before the dreadful tribunal, on the
day of God s eternal vengeance, be the terror and
despair of your soul, and its everlasting condem
nation ; I mean the garb of Protestantism. Y ou
protested ! Against what ? Against the church
of Christ ! Against divine ordinances ! Against
divine and tremendous mysteries. Against all
that is sacred ! This was not enough. Under the
title of minister of Christ, you taught thousands
to do the same, to ridicule and blaspheme what
they did not understand, and by misrepresenting
the holy mysteries of the Catholic Church, you
182 A DEFENCE OF CATHOLIC PRINCIPLES.
prevented their return to that only sheep-fold of
Christ, from which the pride and corruption of
some arch-heretics of former times caused their
ancestors to depart. Thousands and thousands of
these unfortunate lay-people will have a lawful
excuse to allege before the tribunal of impartial
justice, namely, the misrepresentation of their
teachers. Many of them will find their acquittal
in the plea of invincible ignorance. Will this
plea be of any avail to those who with seeing
^yes would not see ? To those, who, without
mission from above, without deputation from the
Catholic Church of Christ, presumed to step into
the sanctuary, and to arrogate to themselves that
sacred title, which the Catholic Church alone can
give, she being exclusively the depository of the
power of Jesus Christ on earth ?
For God s sake, dear sir, if you value the glory
of God, and the salvation of your soul, give up
protesting against the Catholic Church ; in it
alone you will find salvation. As sure as God
lives, it is the true church of Christ. May the
day of judgment be for me the day of God s eter
nal vengeance, if the Roman Catholic Church is
not the only one true and immaculate spouse of
Christ. May my soul be doomed to suffer for
von to all eternity, all those torments, which you
would deserve by following all the pretended
siipers-titions of the church of Home.
A DEFENCE OF CATHOLIC PRINCIPLES. 183
Hush into silence your prejudices; listen and
adore ; humble yourself with St. Paul to the very
dust ; pray for light, and you shall see it brighter
than the dazzling rays of the mid-day s sun. Ask
for grace to overcome human respect and all car
nal Considerations, those obstacles which Satan
raises to prevent the conversion of millions ; that
grace will be imparted to you. Seek the kingdom
of heaven, by which in Scripture language, is often
meant the church of Christ, the Catholic Church,
as yet in a state of suffering, persecuted, ridiculed,
tried like gold in the furnace, as yet wandering
through the dreary and frightful desert, but on its
way to the land of promise ; you will find it, am
with it you will enter the mansions of eternal
peace. That you and all your hearers may obtain
that blessing of blessings, is the sincere desire,
and shall be the constant prayer of
Your humble and obedient servant,
DEMETRIUS A. GALLLTZIN
TO 1HE PROTESTANT FUBLIC
RELIGIOUS controversies, when carried on in
the spirit of charity, and with candour, are cer
tainly of great utility; as they tend to dispel the
clouds of error which obscure or deform the
truth, and to unite those whom a diversity of
opinion keeps at variance. Unfortunately, how
ever, for the cause of religion, religious contro
versies do not often proceed from a spirit of
charity, and are but seldom expressed in the sweet
accents of harmonious suavity, in consequence of
which, the breach is made wider.
When I published my Defence of Catholic
Principles, I was actuated by charity and zeal for
the salvation of my brethren in Christ, and I did
not intentionally make use of any expression cal
culated to hurt the feelings of any. I was not the
aggressor, but compelled by duty to repel the rude
and unprovoked attacks of an enemy of our holy
religion. I find by his late publication that he is
one of those
Who prove their doctrine orthodox,
By apostolic blows and knocks. 3
For this reason, and for some others which I am
AN APPEAL TO THE PROTESTANT PUBLIC. 185
now going to state, I shall not address any more
letters to the Protestant Minister, but direct my
future publications on religious subjects, to a
The Protestant Minister, has spent nearly two
years in gathering and publishing his Vindication,
in which he endeavours to exhibit Roman Catho
lics to the eyes of the public as a superstitious
arid idolatrous people; and I must own, that in
the execution of his design, he has acquired a
claim on the gratitude of the whole body of Ca
tholics, and especially of the Catholic clergy
having furnished us with new proofs of the weak
ness of his cause, and of the impossibility of over
throwing, by fair argument, the principles of
The most solid arguments by which I have es
tablished our principles, he has not ventured to
attack, but passed them unnoticed knowing them
to be unanswerable.
He has generally attached himself to some of
the weakest proofs only, which I had adduced in
favour of our principles ; but which alone, would
not be sufficient to establish them.
In my defence of Catholic Principles, Lava
attached myself to the most essential points of
religion only; those on which depends your sal
vation. And the proofs on which I have estab
lished these fundamental points, are principally
186 AN APPEAL
taken from Scripture. Many of you, my F rotes
tant brethren, have been candid enough to acknow
ledge that these proofs are unanswerable, and leave
no chance for a reply. Convinced by these argu
ments, and giving way to the grace of God, some
few among you have applied to me, and testified
an eager desire to renounce their errors, and be
come members of the Catholic Church. What
does the Protestant Minister do? In order to
draw your attention from the main subject, he
introduces numbers of subjects of minor impor
tance, which he exhibits in the most odious
colours, and in all the ludicrous shapes of low
Although he denies the existence of infallibility,
in the whole body of Catholic prelates, yet he
seems to claim that infallibility for himself: for
.how can he otherwise expect that the least respect
or attention can be due to his interpretations of
Scripture, especially when he takes the liberty to
take hold of the sacred text, as he would a nose
of wax, and squeeze it into whatever shape lie
pleases, to make it answer his purpose. In read
ing his Vindication, you must have admired his
ingenuity, as an interpreter of Scripture.
The gates of hell shall not prevail against the
church, Matt. xvi. That means, says he, page
14, that death shall not prevail against the genuine
members of the church.
TO THE PROTESTANT PUBLIC. 187
Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man, and
drink his blood, you shall not have life in yoiu
John vi. This means, says he, page 24, that we
must believe in Christ.
This is my body, &c. This is my blood,
&c. That means, says the Protestant Minister,
This is not my body, this is not my blood for it
is nothing but bread and wine, page 27, 28.
Receive ye the Holy Ghost ; whose sins you
shall forgive, they are forgiven, &c. John xx. 22.
23. That means nothing at all, for, says the Pro
testant Minister, page 19, where is that power (of
forgiving sins) given to a sinful creature, and one
who has to answer for his own sins ?
Jesus said, Son be of good cheer, thy sins are
forgiven thee, Matt. ix. That means only, says
the same minister, page 20, that the temporal pun
ishment of sin was released.
The church of the living God, says St. Paul,
1 Tim. iii. 15, is the pillar and ground of truth.
That means, says the Protestant Minister, pages
15, 16, only the church of Ephesus.
Christ says, Blessed are they that have not seen
and have believed, John xx. 29. That means no
thing; for the minister tells you, page 29, that
the foundation of our faith must rely on the truth
of our senses.
The Apostle St. Paul, says, if any man s work
burn, he shall suffer loss, but he himself shall be
188 AN APPEAL
saved, yet so as by fire, 1 Cor. iii. 15. That
means, says the Protestant Minister, yet so as out
of the fire, page 47.
I freely confess, my dear brethren, that I am no
match for the Protestant Minister; for he hath the
Holy Scripture at his command, can squeeze it
into any shape, or make it say what he pleases ;
he therefore, can never be at a loss. I, on the
contrary, am so convinced of my ignorance, of
my inability to interpret Scripture, that 1 in all
cases, confine myself to that interpretation which
the Holy Catholic Church gives me : because my
Saviour Christ has promised, that the Spirit of
Truth shall remain with his Apostles forever,
John xiv. 16, 17. And because Christ, when he
sent his Apostles, to begin the work of the minis
try, preaching, baptizing, &c. &c. promised to be
and remain with them until the consummation of
the world, Matt, xxviii. 20. And finally, because
the same Christ, the Divine Architect, who built
the church, built it upon a rock, and promised
that the gates of hell should not prevail against it.
Matt. xvi. 18. The sense of which declaration is
explained by Christ himself. Matt. vii. 25, where
speaking of a house raised by a wise man, he
says, it fell not, for it was founded upon a rock.
Now 1 am so confident that Christ has kept al)
these promises, that I feel perfectly happy and
safe in taking the Catholic Church as my only
TO THE PROTESTANT PUBLIC. 189
guide ill the interpretation of the Holy Scripturr .
and in all matters of salvation. Thus I am con
fined within certain narrow limits beyond which I
cannot step, and therefore am no match for the
Protestant Minister, who is not constrained by
any limits whatever; for he tells us plainly, and
repeatedly, that the Scriptures alone, no matter
how interpreted, for every one is to interpret for
himself, as well as he can, are our only rule of
This is hot all. I do not wish to give the gen
tleman any offence, or to hurt his feelings, know
ing that charity is the principal virtue of a Chris
tian, nay, the very soul of religion. However,
truth being the sole object of a writer, \vho under
takes to defend the true religion, he is of course
obliged to point out the many misrepresentations
by which it is deformed, and the falsehoods by
which it is rendered hateful or ridiculous. To
perform this task is highly unpleasant; as zeal for
the cause of truth, which animates the writer, may
easily be mistaken for malice or ill-will. God
knows I feel nothing but charity for the Protestant
Minister. His endeavours in misrepresenting the
Catholic doctrine, the odium and ridicule lie
throws on the Catholic clergy, by representing
them as impostors, sorcerers, slight of hand men,
cruel executioners, blood-suckers, roasting the
bodies of men, &.c. &c. excites in me nothing biu
190 AN APPEAL
compassion, and a fervent desire that God may
open his eyes before it is too late.
I would fain wish to persuade myself that he
errs through ignorance, in which case I certainly
should address a second letter to him, in order to
undeceive him ; but no, I am compelled to believe,
that he wilfully and knowingly advances false
hoods in order to render the Catholic religion
hateful and ridiculous, and establish his own sys
tem. You, my dear brethren, will be able to
judge whether I be right or wrong. I shall at
present only mention a few of the most palpable
falsehoods advarvced by the Protestant Minister,
intending to be more particular in my future publi
Page 20. He tells you that the Pope and his
priests think it no blasphemy **********
* * to thrust the souls of men into purgatory, and
either to roast them there for hundreds of years,
or, if their friends are rich enough, to bring them
out in a shorter time.
As the Protestant Minister has read the Catholic
doctrine of purgatory, lie, of course, knows the
lines quoted above to be false.
Page 75. He tells you that our holy water 4a
composed of water, salt, a live coal put into it,
and the priest s spittle.
As the minister tells us, page 140, he is ac
quainted with the missal or mass-book, which
TO THE PHOTESTANT PUBLIC. 191
contains the blessing of the water, he therefore is
guilty of a wilful falsehood in the above assertion.
He is guilty of telling no less a falsehood, when
he tells you, page 140, Hhat the Catholic priests
have with all their might endeavoured to suppress
all attempts of translating the Roman mass-book,
breviary, &c. Sic.
Thousands of English prayer-books, used by
the Catholics of America, and hundreds of thou
sands by the Catholics of England, Ireland and
Scotland, contain the whole mass, word by word,
in the English language; and there are besides
other books printed for lay people, which contain
in the English language, all the different masses
and offices for the most solemn days and times of
the year, such as Advent, Lent, Holy Week, Easter
Week, Pentecost, .c. translated from the Roman
mass-book and breviary. Many more such trans
lations are to be found in the hands of Catholics
living in Catholic countries, such as France,
Spain, Portugal, Italy, the greater part of Germany,
I have translations of the kind in both English
and French, and I do most solemnly call upon
you, my dear brethren, to produce any one person
among yourselves, who understands French and
Latin, and I shall in order to satisfy you, give him
a chance to compare said translations with the
Latin mass-book. This will also give
192 AN APPEAL
you an opportunity of finding out how horribly
the Protestant Minister imposes on you, and with
how little conscience he calumniates the Catholic
Church, when he speaks, page 140, of the filth
and abominable corruption* contained in our mass-
books, &c. and hid under the cover of an un
How much will you be surprised when you
shall find that nearly nine-tenths of the contents
of the mass-book and breviary are taken from the
Holy Scriptures, and that the remainder is a short
account of the holy lives of some of the principal
saints, proposed for imitation, together with some
prayers to obtain their intercession with Almighty
God, that we may be enabled to follow their steps,
and thus to be admitted to enjoy, in partnership
with them, the blessings of eternal life.
Page 104. The minister in laying before you
the Catholic creed, as published by Pope Pius IV.
has the following words :
I do believe that the saints reigning togethei
with Christ are to be worshipped and prayed unto.
And again, pretending to quote the Council of
Trent; the sacred bodies of martyrs, &c. are to
Here again is a wilful conniption. The Roman
ritual which contains the said creed or profession
of faith for receiving converts into the church,
does not say worshipped but Jionoured. 4 That the
TO THE PROTESTANT PUBLIC. 193
saints reigning together with Christ, are to be
honoured^ 8cc. I pledge my word to you, dear
brethren, to shew you these words in the Roman
ritual any time you apply to me. The Council of
Trent does not say that the sacred bodies of mar
tyrs, &c. are to be worshipped but venerated, as
having been in this life, according to St. Paul,
1 Cor. iii. 16, 17, temples of the Holy Ghost,
and according to the same, 1 Cor. vi. 15, members
of Christ. What shall I say of the minister s
assertion, page 100, that the church allows not
only the deposing but also the killing of crowned
heads. I hope you will forgive me, my dear
brethren, if I denominate this a most wicked ma
licious lie, invented by Satan, the father of lies,
and his ministers, to lead you astray from the
Holy Catholic Church.
I shall not at present pollute my pages with any
more of the Protestant Minister s misrepresenta-
tions and falsehoods ; they shall all be noticed in
due time. Let me here only remark, that as those
falsehoods are generally advanced without any
proof, they of course ought to bear no weight. It
is a general principle of law and justice, that
every person is to be considered innocent until
proved guilty. And the more heinous the crime
is, with which a person is charged, the stronger
the proofs ought to be before he can be considered
guilty. This principle is not admitted by the Pro-
194 AN APPEAL
testant Minister; his most fixed determination i*
to raise the utmost hatred against the Catholic
Church, and to render it ridiculous and contemp
tible. And in order to accomplish his design, he
charges the church with all the crimes committed
by some of its members.
So, because Clement and Ravaillac, two mon
sters in human flesh, were guilty of murdering
two French kings, he tells you it is the principle
-of the Catholic Church to murder kings.
So, likewise, page 63, because certain ignorant
friars wrote that even God himself is subject to
the Virgin Mary, and such like blasphemies,
therefore he tells you that the Catholic Church
approves and teaches those blasphemies.
What would you think of me, my friends, if I
should assert that the Protestant religion approves
of murder; for a certain Protestant minister mur
dered one of his elders some years ago in Bedford.
Or, if I should assert that the said religion ap
proves of drunkenness, for some of its members,
and even some of its ministers, are in the habit of
Unfortunately, there are too many members of
the Catholic Church, whose conduct widely differs
from their speculative principles; who have no
thing of Christians but the name; and who are
capable of committing the most atrocious crimes.
The church condemns their conduct, admonishes
TO THE PROTESTANT PUBLIC. 195
them to repent, denounces to them the judgments
of God, if they do not repent, but she is not in
vested with the power to compel their amendment.
The Protestant Minister shews a particular want
of generosity in his lengthy account of the wick
edness and extravagant claims of some of the
Popes. After the acknowledgment and concession
I have made on that subject, pages 147 157 of
my Defence, he ought to have been ashamed to
say even one word on the subject. The prevari
cations of Popes can no more be charged to the
church, than the treason of Judas or the fall of
St. Peter; and therefore if all his assertions against
our Popes were true, this would be no argument
against the Catholic Church. Throughout the
whole of the minister s Vindication, I find a total
want of sincerity and candour, a perversion and
misrepresentation of my arguments, and the most
sedulous and persevering endeavours to bury the
fundamental and essential tenets of Catholic faith
under a load of irrelevant matter.
As an instance of his want of sincerity, and I
must add, of a gross imposition on the public, I
beg leave to refer you to page 9, line 29, of the
Vindication, where the minister tries to make
you believe that I said Scripture should not be
read, 5 whereas he very well knows that I only
said that Holy Writ, (although certainly God s
word) was not intended to be our supreme judge
in matters of faith &c. &,c.
196 AN APPEAL
Where he could not by any solid arguments
overthrow the Catholic doctrine itself, he has only
attacked its abuses, for which the church cannot be
made answerable ; for the most holy things have
been, and will be abused. He has made use of
vile and scurrilous language, unworthy a Christian
and a gentleman, of which I need not give here any
He has wilfully perverted the words of our gen
eral councils and the sense of our doctrine, in order
to make it ridiculous and contemptible.
He has even perverted the meaning of plain Eng
lish words, to answer the same purpose, trying to
make you believe that to venerate signifies wor
He has been guilty of advancing most palpable
falsehoods, as in the case of the holy water, &c.
He has carefully, and in very many instances,
concealed from your view most essential parts of
Finally, such are his anger and ill-will against
Catholics, that he cannot bring himself to call
them by their proper name. Nothing will do for
him but Papists, Romanists, Romish, in the true
style of British statutes.
These are a few of my reasons for not addressing
any more of my letters to the Protestant minister.
Should he ever be willing hereafter to recall the
many falsehoods he has advanced ; to confute by
TO THE PROTESTANT PUBLIC. 197
solid arguments the Catholic principles ; to do il
in a decorous manner, in a manner becoming a
chnstian and a gentleman, without comparing the
Pope to an old cow, without calling the priests
impostors, sorcerers, conjurors, &c. without intro
ducing irrelevant matters, such as the scandalous
conduct of some Popes, &c. I shall then considei
it my duty to resume the correspondence with the
Protestant Minister. And I believe that a contro
versy carried on in a mild dispassionate way, pro
ceeding on both sides from a spirit of charity,
attacking only principles, not men, would go a
great way towards dispelling the clouds of error
that have too long obscured the truth, would si
lence the spirit of bigotry and malevolence, and
would re-unite in the bonds of charity those
whom the infernal spirit of religious discord, of
ten mistaken for religious zeal, has too long kept
My brethren, we are all the children of God.
We are all brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ.
Let us for ever banish hatred and malice from onr
hearts, and be guided only by the Spirit of Truth
and Charity which Jesus Christ sent to his Apos
tles and disciples, which formed them into one
church, and which Christ promised should remain
with them until the consummation of the world.