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THE PROTESTANT.-No. XI. It was our intention to have offered our readers, at the close of this year, a retrospect of the events with which it has abounded, affecting, more or less, the cause of Protestantism in this country; and a few words of congratulation on the decided loss of ground which its assailants have experienced. One circumstance has altered this intention : we have just received, but at too advanced a period of the month to find a place in our “ Review,” a Sermon which has lately been published by “ Peter Augustine Baines, D. D. Bishop of Siga, &c." and which is stated to have been “ preached at the Dedication of the Catholic Chapel at Bradford, in the County of York.”
Dr. Baines, if we are not mistaken, resides near Bath. He did not journey into Yorkshire, we may suppose, to deliver an every-day dis
nor would the booksellers of London, Liverpool, York, and Bath, have been ranged on the title-page of an ordinary dedication sermon.' This production has been one of labour: it is condensed, pointed, and polished, with an evident design to obtain a more than common result. We recollect very few tracts of forty-five pages comprehending so much matter, concocted with so much care, or couched in terms so studiously insidious. We expect that much will be made of this sermon; and, to give the author his due, it is not often that the Roman Catholics can produce so able an advocate. For which reason, among others, we have determined upon embracing the very earliest opportunity of shewing, by this example, how little any advocate, however able, can effect towards hiding the palpable defects of the Church of Rome, or justifying her unscriptural pretensions.
Dr. Baines divides his discourse into two parts: in the first he attempts the defence of Roman Catholicism against the objections of Protestants; in the second he advances and asserts its claim to be considered the true, and the only true, church. Upon the first of these heads we shall be very brief; our object on the present occasion being, not so much the exposure of the corruptions of the Church of Rome, as the refutation of her claims to be the “ one sheepfold appointed by the one Shepherd,” out of which there is no salvation.
Briefly, however, we will first advert to the accusations against the Catholics, which he attempts to refute.
" You have been told,” he says, that · Catholics worship images, as did the
pagans of old ; and that, like them, they give the glory of the Ēternal God to " the works of men's hands.'...... Is it possible, that, in an age and country which “ claims to be so learned and so enlightened, men should be found capable of be“ lieving that the majority of the Christian world—the great, the good, the learned, “ of almost every civilized nation under heaven-are so ignorant, so debased, so “ stupid, so wicked, as to give Divine honours to a lifeless and senseless image?” P.10.
Now this is just the answer, let it be observed, which a sensible and acute Greek or Roman would have been likely to make, to any one who reproached him with worshipping stocks and stones. We worship Jupiter,' he would have replied, ' but we do not believe that this image is Jupiter. We kneel before it as a mode of expressing our adoration of the God whom it represents. Our thoughts and our prayers ascend to heaven, his dwelling. Doubtless this was the case with many of the heathen: but it is equally certain that the minds of the great mass of their people were not capable of this abstraction: they worshipped the image which they satv, while more elevated minds ascended to the God in whom they believed. And so it is with Roman Catholics of every age. In England, in the full light of scriptural knowledge, the Catholics affect to wonder that any person can possibly believe them to be “ so stupid, so wicked,” as to give divine honours to a lifeless and senseless image; but at Naples they bring out the image of St. Januarius, and place it in the way of the stream of burning lava which issues from Vesuvius, expecting the destructive torrent to stand arrested by the “ lifeless, senseless image.” It was from a perfect knowledge of this propensity in man that the command was given, 66 Thou shalt not make unto thyself any graven image;":
-a command which is too plain and full to admit of any evasion ; and which, as Catholics will not obey, so they endeavour to keep it out of sight, exhibiting in their churches and their books a garbled and mutilated copy of the holy law of God.
The next objection to which Dr. B: adverts is given as follows:
“ But do we not worship and pray to the Saints ?' We worship no creature “ whatever ; and therefore not the Saints.—But at least we pray to them. Yes, my “ Christian brethren, just as St. Paul prayed to his own converts, or I pray to you
May I not reasonably hope that their prayers will be more efficacious than my own, or those of my friends ?”—Pp. 11, 12.
The latter of these two sentences is a sufficient reply to the former: St. Paul, when he said to the Thessalonians, “ Brethren, pray for us, was in no danger of elevating his own converts into mediators or saviours ; but the practice of the Romish Church leads its followers directly into this danger. Disregarding the Apostle's assurance, that there is (but) one Mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus," she teaches that there
She encourages her disciples to pray to them ; to rely on their intercession; to expect blessings at their hands. Christ, therefore, becomes no longer the sole object of their love and worship: he must share henceforth in the orisons offered up to the thousand saints of the Church of Rome, St. Pantaleon, St. Pambo, or the mad St. Simeon Stylites. And He is not only reduced to a level with these apostles of Satan, but is also commonly insulted by a distinct preference given to some favourite of the Romish Church. The altar of a turbulent priest was loaded with offerings, and the steps leading to it worn away by the feet of countless thousands, praying for salvation “ through the blood and merits of St. Thomas à Becket:” the altar of Christ remained unnoticed, without an offering, without a worshipper!
The third point noticed by the preacher is thus stated : “ You have heard that the Catholic priesthood usurps the Divine power of forgiving sins; that for a sum of money any offender may obtain from the priest pardon for the past, and permission for future crimes; that by this doctrine morality is relaxed, and the commission of every enormity encouraged.' ”—P. 13.
Upon this head Dr. B. enlarges for nearly four pages. We cannot follow him through this long argument, but must content ourselves with setting the accusation in a more correct point of view:
It is matter of history, that, in earlier times, every sin had its price, and that pardons were sold for money. But no one supposes that such a practice would be ventured upon in the nineteenth century, or in the heart of a Protestant country. The charge we make against modern Popery is this, that as she draws her followers away from prayer to Christ, and teaches them to pray to the “ Saints ;" so she also discourages them from confessing their sins to Christ, and seeking pardon at his hands, and tells them to come to the priest for both. Real contrition for sin and supplication for pardon is a deeply spiritual exercise : the Romish Church makes it a formal service. A well-grounded sense of forgiveness is the work of the Spirit alone : the Romish Church makes it the work of
the priest. In this, as in all other respects, opening a broad and easy way to heaven, drawing off those who are seeking the strait gate and narrow way; and proving herself to be, most truly, Antichrist. We proceed to the
fourth objection noticed :“ But do not Catholics believe that there is a place called Purgatory, and that “ the priest can liberate souls from it, upon payment of a sum of money?”—P. 17.
Under this head we have a long statement and defence of the doctrine of Purgatory. We cannot enter upon a subject of this kind, but shall leave it with one remark. If the sin of any one man can be expiated, and his soul purified, by a certain degree of suffering in Purgatory, it follows that the sin of any other may be got rid of in a similar way: nothing more is necessary than to proportion the suffering to the crime: and then, upon this plan, we need no Mediator, no Redeemer. The same spirit is discernible here which was apparent in the former instances--namely, a stripping the Saviour of all his offices and glory, and a putting them upon the priest : for it is peculiarly the function of the Romish priesthood to offer those prayers which are to be instrumental in getting souls out of Purgatory. It is also their function to receive money for this especial purpose. But upon this point Dr. B. says,
“With respect to the assertion, so often made by the enemies of the Catholic religion, that for sum of money ils ministers claim the power of releasing souls “ from Purgatory,' I need not, I am sure, add, that it is another of those strange
misrepresentations, which, though a thousand times proved to be groundless, is as “ often repeated.”—Pp. 20, 21.
We are to forget, then, the whole history of Tetzel, and his declaration, “ The moment the money tinkles in the chest, your father's soul mounts up out of Purgatory.” We are also to forget Mr. Gavin's statement, who himself had been a Romish priest, “I knew a shoemaker's wife, very ignorant, proud, and full of punctilios of honour, who went to a Franciscan friar, and told him, that she desired to know whether her father's soul was in Purgatory or not, and in what apartment? The friar asked her how many masses she could spare for it; she said, two; and the friar answered, Your father's soul is among the beggars. Upon hearing this, the poor woman began to cry, and desired the friar to put him, if possible, in the fourth apartment, and she would pay him for it; and the quantum being settled, the friar did promise to place him there the next day."
We know, indeed, that nothing of this gross and revolting description is suffered to transpire in this country. But, though softened and moderated, the doctrine is still the same: all Catholics are taught to believe that there is a place of punishment into which the souls of their departed friends enter at their death-that from this place of punishment the prayers
offered up by the priest are efficacious to deliver them,—and that these prayers may at any time be had for payment. How can any child, then, rest satisfied, in the midst of affluence, or even comfort, while his parent is suffering in flames, from which a sum of money will deliver him ?
But we pass on to the sixth objection to which Dr. B. replies. It relates to the Mass :
“In it,” says Dr. B.“ the bread and wine are solemnly consecrated, and, when so consecrated, solemnly offered to God, in the way of oblation or sacrifice, and for " the various ends for which, from the beginning of the world, sacrifice has been 16 offered.”—P. 22.
Now St. Paul tells us, on the contrary, that “we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all;" and that Christ, “ after he had offered one sacrifice for sins, for ever sat down on the right hand of God; from thenceforth expecting till his enemies be made his
footstool. For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.” (Heb. x. 10-14.) But let us hear the Doctor on Transubstantiation.
“ What, then, is the real doctrine of the Catholic Church? She teaches, that by the “ words of consecration a real change is wrought in the bread and wine; not, indeed, “ in external properties, but in internal substance: that now the body and blood of “ Christ are, in substance, truly and really present, though not perceptible to our
This is her doctrine.-P. 22. Let our readers observe these expressions: “ By the words of consecration a real change is wrought in the bread and wine;" so “that the body and blood of Christ are in substance truly and really present :” and this, although the priest be an infidel, and all the communicants unconverted persons. By the words of consecration, the bread and wine are changed at once into the real and substantial body and blood of Christ. ·
The Doctor builds this belief upon the words of Christ, “ This is my body,” &c. Upon which we must remark :
1. That if these words mean that a real change takes place in the substance of the bread, they must have meant so at the moment when our Saviour used them.
2. But if this real change in the substance of the bread took place when the Saviour blessed it, then the disciples must have eaten of his body, his material Aesh and blood, while he was sitting at the table with them.
But the fact is, that this doctrine, like all the other peculiarities of the Romish faith, has an obvious tendency and intention to put the priest in the place of Christ, and to direct the mind of the worshipper to him rather than to the Saviour.' As the Lord's Supper is used by Protestants, it is a direct communion with their Lord; the ministering priest being only an assistant, or leader, in the act of devotion. - In the Romish Church, the priest is the great agent in the whole transaction. By the mere use of four Latin words, he works a daily miracle, and changes a piece of bread into the body of the Son of God. He then receives the elements himself; but does not, except about once a year, impart them to the surrounding worshippers. Their duty is merely that of spectators. Their minds are fixed upon the wonder which is being wrought, and their faith consists in the credulity with which they believe in the transmutation.
But we must basten on to the seventh point discussed :
« But why is it performed in an unknown tongue, and why all this parade of “ richly attired priests and attendants at the altar ?.... The Latin and Greek were “ the languages most generally used, and almost the only written languages in “ the principal countries where the Christian religion was first promulgated. In “ these languages, therefore, the liturgy of the church was originally composed, nearly in its present form.”—P. 25.
Our readers will not fail to observe this little word “therefore" in the above paragraph ; and they will naturally ask, If the Romish liturgy was written in Latin, because that language was “generally used,” surely it ought now to be translated out of that language, because it is not “generally used?” It was originally composed for the people, and in a language which they understood. If the Church of Rome were, as she asserts herself to be, the same now as in the early ages, she would still provide a liturgy for the people, in a language which they could understand. But, in conformity with her leading principle of making the priest every thing in religion, she now makes him the sole intelligent worshipper; while the people kneel and listen to his whispered Latin prayers, with the same kind of devotion, though not equally well directed, as that which pervades a Quaker's silent meeting.
Of the various and fantastic robings of the Romish priesthood; of their masses in white, in green, and in violet ; Dr. B. says,
~ They give a peculiar dignity to the sacred mysteries of religion; they raise the mind “ of the beholder to heavenly things, by their various and appropriate import."-P.27.
But he does not explain to us how the sight of a person decked out in an endless variety of colours, operates to raise the mind to heavenly things;' and such a tendency is by no means apparent.
We are now to consider the second part of Dr. Baines's discourse. Having gone over the principal objections urged by Protestants against his Church, and answered them, he perhaps thinks satisfactorily,—he now advances a step farther, and proceeds to shew that it is “the Church of Christ," "the one sheepfold appointed by the one Shepherd,” “ the religion established by the Saviour.”
And the first claim set up by him, on the part of the Romish Church, is that of “ Apostolic descent." Under this head, he advances two propositions: the first, that obedience is due to the successors of the Apostles; the second, that the clergy of the Romish Church are the successors of the Apostles.
In support of the first proposition, he constructs the following argument :
“ Christ commissioned his Apostles to teach all the doctrines of his religion to “ mankind;" and "he required mankind to receive these doctrines, and this under the
severest penalty..... He that believeth not shall be condemned. Therefore we " are not at liberty to believe what we please, but our salvation is attached to the K belief of the very doctrines taught by the Apostles.....With respect to the Apostles “ themselves, you will readily admit that there was an obligation of believing their “ doctrines. But why, let me ask, should the Apostles be entitled to an “ obedience which is refused to their successors? The Apostles had no power but “ such as they received from Christ; no security from error, but such as they “ derived from his guidance and protection. Now the same powers, the same " guidance and protection, were promised to the successors of the Apostles, as were
promised to the Apostles themselves..... The Catholic Church, therefore, believes « that the same submission is due to the lawful successors of the Apostles in the first, " the second, and the nineteenth century of Christianity, as was due to the Apostles " themselves.”—Pp. 30, 31.
If one leap at a conclusion is held to invalidate an argument, what are we to say to a logician who treats us with two such bounds in one short argument ? To get, by a single jump, from the Divine mission of the Apostles, to their plenary infallibility, would make a plain man stare; but the second leap, from the infallibility of the Apostles to that of all their successors, is perfectly astounding. However, let us seriously examine this remarkable specimen of Roman Catholic argumentation.
The author starts from a point upon which all are agreed, -the Divine mission of the Apostles. He says truly, 'we are not at liberty to believe what we please, but our salvation is attached to the belief of the very doctrines taught by the Apostles.” So say all Protestants; and it is upon this very ground that we contend for the general circulation of the writings of the Apostles. Our salvation depends upon believing what they taught: let us, therefore, know what they taught; and know it in the most direct and unquestionable manner, by reading for ourselves the books which they have left us.
Dr. Baines, however, deduces a very different conclusion from the fact of the apostolic mission. “ You will readily admit,” he says, “ that there was an obligation of believing their doctrine." This we have already allowed to be true, in one sense; but as the Doctor immediately after begins to talk of the “ obedience and submission" due to the Apostles, it is necessary to state in what sense it is not true. It is not true that the Apostles were