Popery! As it Was and as it Is - LightNovelsOnl.com
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After having despatched the above letter, Coligny deemed it his duty to see the king before he left Paris. His sole object in so doing was to obtain, if possible, some concessions, or at least some guarantee for the future protection of the persecuted Protestants, of whom he was a member. The king received him well, promised him all he asked; but the king consulted the Pope's nuncio, who was then in the city, and that _holy_ man advised him to keep no faith with that Protestant Coligny, but on the contrary, to make all the use he could of him, in order the more effectually to accomplish the destruction of the heretical band to which he belonged. After receiving this Christian advice, the king became apparently more friendly to Coligny, and went so far as to promise him a safe escort on his way home. "If you approve of it," said the king to Coligny, "I will send for the guard of my Arquebusiers for the greater safety of all, for fear they might unawares do you a mischief; and they shall come under officers who are known to you." The generous and unsuspecting Christian, Coligny, accepted the offer of the guards, and twelve hundred of them were ordered into the city. There were many of the Protestants in the city, who on seeing this array of troops, felt alarmed for the safety of their friend Coligny; they whispered their fears to the brave warrior, who until then did not even dream of treachery. But now, fearing that something might be wrong, he resolved to see the queen mother. She expected this, and granted him an interview with great apparent pleasure. As soon as he commenced to suggest any fears or apprehensions of treachery, this _holy daughter_ of the church, suddenly interrupting him, exclaiming, "Good G.o.d, sir admiral," said she, "let us enjoy ourselves while these festivities continue. I promise you on the faith of a queen, that in four days I will make you contented, and those of your religion." Coligny had now the word of a king, and the honor of a queen, as a guarantee for his own safety, and that of the Protestants in France. Who could any longer doubt that they were safe? Who could believe that a king would violate a solemn promise freely given? Who could question the honor of a lady and the promise of a queen? Who would venture to a.s.sert that a mother would not use her best effort to redeem the honor and plighted faith of a son, and that son a king? No one but a Roman Catholic could doubt it. Charles was a Roman Catholic king. His church taught him, that no faith was to be kept with heretics. Coligny was a heretic. Catharine, the queen mother, was a Roman Catholic; her church taught her to keep no faith with heretics, but to "destroy them, root and branch, under pain of eternal d.a.m.nation." _Heritici destruendi_ is the doctrine of the Roman Catholic church; and accordingly, on the evening of that very day on which Coligny had an audience with the queen, these distinguished and pious children of the holy Roman Catholic church appointed an interview with the Pope's nuncio, and after that _holy man_ sung the _Veni Creator Spiritus_, (a hymn which they invariably sing, when laying any plan for the destruction of heretics,) these three worthy children of the infallible church resolved to send for the "king's a.s.sa.s.sin," a man named Maureval, and ordered him to a.s.sa.s.sinate Coligny. It must be observed here, that the Pope's legate allowed Charles and his mother to keep an a.s.sa.s.sin, to cut down _such thistles or tares as the devil may plant in the vineyard of the holy see_. Soon after this, Coligny had occasion to go out on some business. The Popish a.s.sa.s.sin pursued him at a distance, secreted himself in a house where he knew he could deliberately shoot at him; he did so, but the wound, though severe in the extreme, did not prove mortal. Among the first who visited him were the king and his mother; and such was the apparent grief of Catharine, that she shed tears for the sufferings of the warrior. The good son of this good mother mingled his tears with hers, promising that the a.s.sa.s.sin, whoever he was, should be brought to condign punishment; but need I now tell you, Americans, that the tears of this Popish queen, for the sufferings of this Protestant, were like those of the hyena, that moans in the most piteous strains, while sucking the life-blood of its victim? Need I tell you they were like those of the crocodile, which sheds them in abundance while devouring its prey? Need I inform you that by her promises of future protection, she resembled the filthy buzzard, which spreads its wings over the body or carca.s.s of its prey, while plunging its beak into its very entrails? And such I tell you now, as I have told you before, Americans, and shall tell you while I live, is the sympathy, and such the protection which every good mother and son of the holy Roman Catholic church would extend to you, your Protestant religion and its followers, in these United States.
We will now pa.s.s over the various meetings held by the king, his mother, queen Catharine, and the Pope's nuncio, for the purpose of devising ways and means, not for the death of Coligny, but for the destruction of all the Protestants in France. To detail these would be a tedious undertaking; and not more tedious than revolting to the best feelings of humanity. Depravity was reduced to a science in the court of Catharine, and her son Charles. She employed even her _ladies_ of honor for the seduction of her young n.o.bility. They were ladies--I should say human things--selected for their beauty, and trained up by this royal mother in the Romish church, in habits of utter abandonment to seduction and lasciviousness. Young men of honor, virtue, and patriotism, were introduced to them, by Catharine, especially those who were at all suspected of being favorable to Protestantism. These _maids_ were required to ascertain from these young n.o.blemen who, and how many of their young friends were friendly to the cause of Protestantism, with a view of marking them for extermination, as soon as herself and the Pope's legate should deem it expedient to do so The hour at last arrived, when the holy trio deemed it expedient to order a general ma.s.sacre of the Protestants. The order was issued. The bells of the Roman Catholic churches were rung, and the royal order "Kill! kill!
kill!" all, was issued by the king, and repeated by his Roman Catholic mother. I could not if I would, nor would I if I could, describe the scene that followed. Suffice it to say, that particular orders were given not to spare Admiral Coligny. Blameless as was his life, and devoted as he was to his king and government, yet he was a Protestant, and must die, and that by the hand of a Popish a.s.sa.s.sin. The holy church reserved to herself the glory of murdering this heretic. As soon as the order to murder was given, a rush was made towards the residence of Coligny. They entered his chamber, and to use the language of another, they found him sitting in an armchair, his arms folded, his eyes half upturned with angelic serenity towards heaven, looking the image of a righteous man falling asleep in the Lord. One of the murderers, a pious Catholic, called Besma, fixing his fiendish eye upon the admiral, asked him, 'Art thou the admiral?' pointing his sword at him at the same time.
'I am the admiral,' replied Coligny. 'Young man, thou shouldst have regard for my age and infirmities;'" but the murderer plunged his sword into the Christian hero's breast, pulled it out, and thrust it in again.
Thus died this n.o.ble Protestant! Thus died the veteran Coligny, by the hands of a Popish boy! And for what? He believed in the Bible--he was a Protestant. And thus, fellow Protestants of the United States, will your posterity be sacrificed, for similar crimes, unless G.o.d in his mercy drive from your land, and mine by adoption, every vestige of the Popish religion. No sooner was Coligny put to death, than his head was cut off and presented to Queen Catharine, who sent for her perfumer, and ordered it to be embalmed and forwarded to the Pope, as a mark of her devotion to the holy see. But even this did not satisfy the queen. Her Popish bloodhounds, on hearing of Coligny's murder, rushed through the streets to his apartments, searching every where for his mangled body, and having found it, a general cry was raised, "The admiral! the admiral!"
They tied his legs and his arms together, and dragged them through the streets shouting, "Here he comes, the admiral!" One cut off his ears, another his legs, another his nose, hands, &c. They abandoned the body, to let the boys amuse themselves by inspecting it, and then tumbled it into the river. But the zealous Catharine was not satisfied yet. This good daughter of the Pope ordered the river to be dragged, until what remained of Coligny was found, and then ordered it to be hung in chains on a gibbet at a place called Mountfacon. A contemporary writer, a Roman Catholic, speaking of this, says: "the road to Mountfacon was a scene of incessant bustle, created by the gentlemen of Catharine's court, who, in splendid dresses and perfumed with essences, went to insult the relics of Coligny. Catharine also went with her numerous retinue. Charles accompanied his mother. On arriving before the gallows, the courtiers turned away their heads, and held their noses on account of the stench arising from the half putrefied remains. 'Poh!' said Charles and his mother, to their courtiers, '_the dead body of a heretic_ always smells well.' On returning home she consulted with her confessor, who advised her, now that the devil had the heretic's body, it would be well to have a solemn high ma.s.s for the occasion, to be said at the church of St.
Germain, at which Charles and his mother attended, and a Te Deum was sung in honor of the glorious victory gained by the church, by the destruction of so many heretics.
As soon as the Pope heard this news, his holiness despatched a special messenger to France, to congratulate the king on having "caught so many heretics in one net." So joyous and elated did his royal holiness appear, that he offered a high reward for the best engraving of the ma.s.sacre; having, on one side, as a motto, "the triumph of the church;"
and on the other, "the pontiff approves of the murder of coligny." This engraving is now to be seen in the Vatican of Rome.
The number of those who were ma.s.sacred on St. Bartholomew's day is variously stated. Mazary makes it thirty thousand; others over sixty: but the Pope's nuncio, who was on the spot during the ma.s.sacre, in a letter to the Pope, tells him, "the number was _so great it was impossible to estimate it._"
Recollect, American Protestants, that this ma.s.sacre, and others to which I have alluded, was not the work of a few fanatics. It was the work of a nation, by their representative, the king, empowered to do so by the head of the Roman Catholic church. In vain is it for Papists to tell us that all this blood-shedding and destruction of human life was the work of a few, with which the church was neither chargeable nor accountable.
Americans may believe them if they will. Let them believe. "There are none so blind as those who will not see." If neither the testimony of history, nor a statement of facts, bearing all the necessary evidence of truth, will convince them, vain indeed are my efforts to do so.
But there is no impropriety in my earnestly and solemnly appealing to Americans, and suggesting one or two questions, which they should put to any Roman Catholic who may deny that the church ever sanctioned those evil deeds of which I have spoken. Have you any record of the fact, that the church ever discountenanced the destruction of heretics? Did the Popish authorities ever deliver up those whom they knew to have murdered heretics to the civil tribunals? Were there ever any heretics murdered, as such, except by the advice, counsel, and connivance of the Popish church and her priests? If there were, in what country, in what age, and in what reign? Until these questions can be truly answered, you are not to be satisfied. But why will Americans, for a moment, entertain a doubt upon the subject? Popish historians never deny it. The actions of Papists all over the world proclaim it. The church of Rome has ever thirsted for the blood of' heretics. She now yearns for an opportunity of shedding it again; all for the purpose of "purifying the earth of heresy." Do you not see that her conduct, in all ages and all places where she had opportunities, confirms this? Do you not even see, that in this country, the members of that church can scarcely keep their hands off you; and so b.l.o.o.d.y are the sentiments which they inherit, that, for want of other subjects, they will sometimes shed that of each other?
What would they not have done, a few weeks ago, in Philadelphia, had they the power? What in New York? What in Boston, or any where else in the United States? Do you not see, in all your intercourse with them, the ill-concealed hatred which they, bear you? If you have any charitable inst.i.tutions for the support of Protestants, will they aid you? If you hold a fair for the purpose of building a church, or for any other Protestant purpose, will they attend it and purchase from you?
They will not. If they do, they commit a sin against the church, and the power of absolving from that sin is _reserved_ for the bishop of the diocese. It is a _reserved case_, as the church terms it. It is only by virtue of a _dispensation_, granted by the Pope to this country, that a Roman Catholic is even allowed to attend the funeral of a Protestant; and should he go into one of your churches, even though there was no service at the time, if he is a true son of the church, he will hasten to his priest and obtain absolution for that special crime. Yet, if they want churches built, you will furnish them with money. If they want land to build them upon, you will give it to them. Is this wise in you? You are denounced in those churches as heretics; your religion ridiculed, and yourselves laughed at. Your motives are undoubtedly good. You believe, because you do not know to the contrary, that, by your contributions, you are advancing the cause of morality. You do not reflect--and perhaps the idea never occurred to you--that there is a wide difference between the religion of a Protestant and that of a Papist. That of the Protestant teaches him to be a moral and virtuous man; whereas, that of the Papist has not the remotest connection with virtue. A Catholic need not dream of virtue, and yet be a member of that church.
The most atrocious villain, as an eminent writer expresses it, may be rigidly devout, and without any shock to public sentiment in Catholic countries, or even among Roman Catholics in the United States, Religion, as the same writer says, and as we all know, at least as many of us as have been in those countries, and who are acquainted with Catholics in this, is a _pa.s.sion, an excuse, a refuge_, but never a _check_. It is called by Papists themselves _refugium peccatorum_. Hence it is, that priests may be drunkards, and their flocks never think the worse of them. I have known some of them, whose private rooms where they heard confessions, were sinks of debaucheries, which a regard for public decency prevents me from mentioning. I have known females, who have been seduced by them, and who afterwards regularly went to confession, under the impression which every Catholic is taught to feel, that no matter what a priest does, provided he speaks the language of the church.
_Don't mind what he does, but mind what he speaks_, is a proverb among the poor Irish Papists. None of them dare look me in the face and deny this, and yet these wretches talk of morals. But what think you, Protestants, of this kind of morality or of the church which does not even forbid it, and only requires to have it "concealed from _heretics?_" Do you desire it propagated amongst you? Do you wish your children to learn it? No virtuous daughter or decent woman should ever venture under the same roof with those men.
Paganism, in its worst stages, was a stronger check to the pa.s.sions than Popery. I will give you one instance of the abominations of Popery.
Papists believe in the doctrine of the _real presence_ of Christ, in the sacrament of the Eucharist. It is the duty of every priest in that church to administer this _sacrament_ to the dying, and for this purpose, they consecrate a number, of small wafers, made of flour and water, each of which, they pretend to believe, contains _the body and blood, soul and divinity_ of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, or in other words, the Lord G.o.d himself. The priests carry with them, in & small box called _pixis_, a number of them to be given to the sick and dying. There are but few of them in the United States, in whose breeches' pockets may not be found, at any hour of the day, at least a dozen of _those G.o.ds_. Can there be religion here? Can there be morality among those men or their followers? I would go further, and ask, Is there any thing in Paganism equally impious or more revolting to G.o.d or man? They know full well that such a creed cannot be sustained either by reason or Scripture, and hence it is, they want all power concentrated in the Pope of Rome, in order to extirpate their opponents, Protestant heretics. Papists understand the character of Americans, and are well aware, that if sufficiently satisfied of the existence among them, of a sect who believed in a doctrine so absurd, and so impiously profane, as that of the real _bodily presence of Christ in the Eucharist_, they could not countenance them. My own impression is, that if the people of Boston, where I write, knew that Catholic priests taught their followers to believe, that they (the priests) could make G.o.d's by the dozen, carry them in their pockets, take them out when and where they pleased, and there kneel to them, in _adoration_, they would have them indicted under the statute against blasphemy. The Rev. Abner Kneeland was indicted because he denied the procession of the Holy Ghost, and found guilty of blasphemy. But what was his crime, when compared with that of Romish bishops and priests! It was bad enough, to be sure, in the eyes of all Christian men, and few questioned the righteousness of the verdict of his guilt. If a Pagan priest should arrive amongst us, bringing with him his G.o.ds, and wors.h.i.+pping them in our midst, should we _sanction_ him?
I know not that our const.i.tution forbids such a thing, but the reverence which we have for the _one true G.o.d_, our love of morality and good order, would forbid it. We would accuse and indict them for blasphemy.
But is their blasphemy more horrid than that of the Romish church?
The Pagan priest hews his G.o.d out of wood; the Popish priest makes his out of flour and water. The Pagan priests convey their G.o.ds in some vehicle, from place to place, and stop to wors.h.i.+p them, wherever their inclination or devotion prompts them. The Romish priests carry theirs in their pockets, or otherwise, as occasion or love of pomp may suggest.
Where, Americans, is the difference? Which is the greater blasphemer?
Which is the bolder and more reckless violator of that great commandment, "_I am the Lord thy G.o.d." "Thou shalt have none other G.o.ds before me"?_ You will not hesitate to decide. The Pagan may be honest in his belief; he may wors.h.i.+p according to the light that is in him, or the knowledge that has reached him. He may never have seen the Gospel. _The Day Star from on high_ may never have arisen over him, or illumined his path! "The morning upon the mountains" may perhaps never have gladdened his vision; he may, to us at least, be excusable, and as far as we can see, without offence before G.o.d. But is the Romish priest, who makes his G.o.d out of flour and water, and wors.h.i.+ps it, sinless? Is he not an idolater? What can be more blasphemous than to believe that a wafer, made of flour and water, can be changed, by the incantations of a Romish priest, into the G.o.d of heaven and earth!
The Popish church teaches that the flour, of which the wafer is made, loses its substance, and all its natural properties, and is changed by the words of consecration into the Almighty G.o.d; that is, it is no longer flour and water; it is changed,--not _spiritually_, as Protestants believe,--but actually and really becomes the _body and blood, soul and divinity_ of Jesus Christ, such as it was when nailed to the cross, and as such they wors.h.i.+p the wafer. If this is not idolatry, I cannot understand what idolatry is. If this is not blasphemy, I wish some New England gentleman of the ministry, or the bar, would explain it, and tell me what they mean by their statute against blasphemy.
Does blasphemy, in their estimation, mean nothing? or is it something introduced into our laws, only for the purpose of exercising the ingenuity of legal and ecclesiastical casuists? Surely, if the word has any meaning whatever, in law or morals, in church or state; if it can be enforced at all, and there is such a crime as blasphemy, it should be enforced against the Romish priest or bishop, who bows and teaches his followers to bow, in adoration, to a piece of bread and water, and thus blasphemously insult, as far as poor mortals can, the great and living G.o.d. Surely, the state authority, which would inst.i.tute a criminal prosecution for blasphemy against Kneeland, because he did not believe the Holy Ghost to proceed "from the Father and the Son," and does not prosecute for blasphemy Popish priests, who believe, and teach their followers to believe, that they can create, or rather manufacture as _many G.o.ds_ as they please, out of flour and water, either neglects his duty, or his knowledge of it is very equivocal.
Either this is the case, or the treatment of Kneeland originated in some cruel persecution. The latter I am far from believing.
As a citizen of this state, I would ask respectfully, why proceedings, under the statute against blasphemy, are not immediately commenced against Popish priests? Is it because Kneeland was friendless and alone, that he was selected as a proper victim? and is it because Popish priests are supported by a large party, equally criminal with themselves, that they are spared? Not at all, say the _sympathizers_ with Papery. Kneeland made a noise in his meetings; they were troublesome in the neighborhood where they were held. Be it so. I will not deny this, nor do I wish to be considered as the apologist of Kneeland, his blasphemies, or his meetings; but I would ask the prosecuting officer of the state, whether Kneeland's meetings were more noisy than _Popish repealers?_ Were they even half so turbulent or uproarious? Let those whose duty it is answer the question, and tell us why priests are not prosecuted for blasphemy. I contend that if there is one blasphemy under the sun more revolting than another, it is that of believing and teaching that a wafer can be changed from what G.o.d made it, into that same Almighty G.o.d, by mumbling over it a few Latin words.
It makes me shudder at the weakness of man, and the unaccountable influence of early education, to think that I myself once believed in this horribly blasphemous doctrine.
The doctrine of Popish priests in adoring a wafer made of bread and water, and their mode of manufacturing the wafer into G.o.d, is not only blasphemous, but extremely ludicrous.
Has the reader ever seen a Popish priest in the act of making, or metamorphosing bread and water into _flesh and blood?_ If he has not, it would be well, if not profane, to witness it; for never before has he seen such mountebank tricks. The priest, this great _creator_ of flesh and blood out of flour and water, appears decked out in as many gewgaws as would adorn a Pagan priestess, and about twice as many as would be necessary for a Jewish rabbi. Amid the ringing of small bells, dazzling lights, genuflections, crossings, incense, and a variety of other such "tricks before high Heaven," this clerical mountebank metamorphoses this wafer into _G.o.d_, and exhibits it to his followers, whom he calls upon to go on their knees and adore it. This horrible practice should induce our philanthropists, who are sending vast sums abroad for the conversion of the Pagan, to pause and ask themselves, whether there is, in the whole moral wilderness of Paganism, any thing worse, or half so bad, as that idolatry which we have at our own doors!
If a being from some unknown world, and to whom this world of ours was as little known as the one from which he came was to us, should, by accident or otherwise, arrive among us, and we were to take him into a Roman Catholic church during the celebration of ma.s.s, and there tell him, that the _great actor_ in the service was making flesh and blood out of bread and water, and could actually accomplish that feat, he would unhesitatingly award to these United States the credit of having among them some of the most accomplished jugglers in the world.
What are your Eastern fire-eaters, sword-swallowers, and dervishes, to a Popish priest? Why, it would be easier to swallow a rapier, ten feet long, or a ball of fire as large as the mountain Orizaba, than to metamorphose flour and water into the "_great and holy G.o.d_, who created the heavens and the earth, and all that is therein."
Let me not be accused of levity, or want of reverence to that Almighty Being, to whom I am indebted for my creation and preservation, and on whom alone, through the merits of the Saviour, my hopes of salvation are placed. My only object is, to call the attention of my fellow-citizens to the absurd and profane doctrines of Popery; and that having seen them, in their true colors, it is to be hoped they will find little favor from a thinking and reflect-ing people.
It is extremely unpleasant to my feelings, thus to expose the profanity of a religion which I once professed, and inculcated upon the minds of others; but the best atonement I can make for my unconscious offence to my G.o.d and my fellow-beings is, to acknowledge my error, and caution others against falling into the snares which an early education, received from priests and Jesuits, had precipitated me. The reader will therefore pardon me if I lay before him a few more Popish extravagances.
It is generally known, that Papists believe in the doctrines of miracles. So do I, and so do all Christians. But it is not so well known that the miracles, in which Protestants believe, differ widely from those which the Romish church teaches her followers. We believe the miracles recorded in the Holy Scriptures; to these, however, the _infallible church_ pays little or no attention, but hands us down a catalogue of miracles, for the truth of which she herself vouches, and calls upon all to receive them as the "genuine article." It may be edifying, and if not, it can not fail to be amusing to American Protestants, to see a specimen or two of Popish miracles. I a.s.sure the reader, they are very fair ones, to my own personal knowledge, and considered as such by every true Roman Catholic in this city of Boston as well as elsewhere.
St. Hieronymus, better known by the name Jerome, who died early in the fifth century, relates the following miracle:--"After St. Hilary was banished from France to Phrygia, he met in the wilderness a huge Bactrian camel, and having seen, in a vision, that his camels.h.i.+p was possessed of the devil, he exorcised him, and the devil sprang out from him, running wild through the wilderness, leaving behind him a strong smell of brimstone." He tells us another miracle, with much gravity.
"Paul the Hermit," says this saint, "happening to die in the wilderness, his body remained unburied, until discovered by St. Anthony. The saint being alone, and not having the means of digging a grave, nor strength enough to place in it the body of the hermit, prayed to the Virgin Mary to aid him in his difficulties. The result was, two lions, of the largest species, walked up to him, licked his hands, and told him that they would dig the grave themselves with their feet, and place the body of Paul in it. They did so; and having finished their business, went on their knees, asked the saint's blessing, and vanished in the woods."
Palladus, who lived in the fifth century, and was greatly distinguished in the Romish church, tells us of a hyena, which, in a certain wood in Greece, killed a sheep. The next day, a pious hermit, who happened to live in the neighborhood, was surprised at seeing this hyena at the-door of his cave; and on asking it what was the matter, the hyena addressed him in the following language: "Holy father, the odor of thy sanct.i.ty reached me; I killed a sheep last night, and I came to ask your absolution." The saint granted it, and the hyena departed in peace. We find in Butler's Lives of the Saints, which is for sale in almost all Roman Catholic bookstores, an account of some most extraordinary miracles, for the truth of which, the _infallible_ church pledges her veracity. For instance; when heretics cut off the head of St. Dennis, the saint took it up, put it under his arm, and marched off some miles with it. Butler relates another extraordinary miracle, and if American Protestants presume to doubt it, they may expect a bull from the Pope of Rome.
A certain lady in Wales, named Winnefride, was addressed by a young prince, named Caradoc. But she, being a _nun_, could not listen to his addresses. The young prince got impatient, and finally, in a fit of rage and disappointment, he pursued her in one of her walks, and cut off her head. A saint, by the name of Beuno, hearing of this outrage, went in pursuit of Caradoc, and having come up with him, he caused the earth to open and swallow him. Upon his returning where the _nun's_ head fell, he found that a well had opened, emitting a stream of the purest water, the drinking of which, to this day, is believed to cast out devils. When the holy St. Beuno looked at the head of the _nun_, he took it up and kissed it, placed it on a stump, and said ma.s.s. No sooner was the ma.s.s finished, than the beheaded nun jumped up, with her head on, as if nothing had happened.
Come forward, Americans, if you dare, and deny this miracle. The _holy church_ vouches for its truth. St. Patrick, the great patron of Daniel O'Connell, whom his holiness the Pope calls the _greatest layman living_, performed some very extraordinary miracles, as we are told; among them was the following: A poor boy strayed from home, and died of starvation, or something else, and the body was nearly devoured by hogs, when St. Patrick, chancing to pa.s.s that way, discovered it in this mutilated condition. The holy saint touched it, and it instantly sprang into life, resuming its former shape and proportions. On another occasion, as we read in the Lives of the Saints, St. Patrick fed fourteen hundred people with the flesh of one cow, two wild boars, and two stags; and what is more strange than all, the same old cow was seen, on the following morning, brisk and merrily grazing on the very same field where she was killed, cooked, and eaten by the mult.i.tude.
We read of another very great miracle, which no Roman Catholic can doubt, without running the risk of being considered a _heretic_. St.
Xavier, who is considered one of the most distinguished saints in the Romish church, had a valuable crucifix. On one of his journeys at sea, it fell overboard, much to his regret. When he arrived at his place of destination, he took a walk along sh.o.r.e, meditating on the power, grandeur, and infallibility of the _mother of saints_, and what was the first object that caught his eye? Lo, and behold, he saw a crab moving towards him, bearing in its mouth the saint's crucifix, and continued to advance until he reverently laid it at his feet. No Roman Catholic writer, since the days of St. Xavier, questions the truth of this miracle.
The Popish biographers of St. Xavier tell us of another great miracle performed by him, the truth of which is attested by the _infallible church_. The devil tempted Xavier, and the "_old boy_" a.s.sumed the shape of a lovely female; the saint ordered her off, but she refused, and attacked him again on the same day; but the saint, unwilling to be annoyed any longer, spit in the devil's face, and he instantly fled.
I cannot dismiss, this subject without relating a few more of those miracles which Roman Catholics believe. They may be seen in Belarmine's Treatise on the _Holy Eucharist_, book iii. ch. 8. St. Anthony, of Padua, got into an argument with a heretic, concerning the doctrine of _transubstantiation_ or the changing of bread and water, by Romish priests, into the flesh and blood of Jesus Christ. After arguing the question for a long time, the heretic proposed to St. Anthony to settle their controversy in the following manner: "I have a horse," said the _heretic_, "which I will keep fasting for three days; at the expiration of that time, come with your _host_ (an image) and I will meet you with my horse. I will pour out some grain to my horse, and you will hold the host before him; if he leave the grain, and adores the host, I shall believe." They met, and St. Anthony addressed the horse in the following words. I translate, literally, from that ill.u.s.trious writer in the Roman church, Belarmine.
"_In virtue, and in the name of thy creator, whom I truly hold in my hand, I command and enjoin thee, O horse, to come, and with humility, adore him." The horse, instanter, left his corn, advanced towards the host in the priest's hand, and, devoutly kneeling, adored it as his G.o.d._
St. Andrew, as we read in Romish history, was a man of great eminence and _sanct.i.ty_. Papists pray for his intercession daily. The _infallible church_ informs us, that he performed some very great miracles I beg to give my readers one, as a sample of the many which he performed.
The devil, armed with an axe, and accompanied by several minor devils, with clubs in their hands, made an attack upon the saint, whereupon he called upon St. John, the apostle, to rescue him. St. John lost no time in making his appearance, and summoning some holy angels to aid him, with chains in their hands, he rescued St. Andrew from these devils, and chained every one of them to the spot; whereupon, as we are informed in the _Acts of the Saints_, St. Andrew burst into laughter, and the devils fell to screaming and crying mercy.
In the year 1796, a work, ent.i.tled _Official Memoirs_, was published in Ireland, under the authority of Dr. Bray, archbishop of Cushel, and Dr.
Troy, archbishop of Dublin. In this work it is stated--and to doubt the fact in Ireland, would be-_heresy_--that in the month of May, 1796, at Toricedi, tears were seen to flow from the eyes of a _wooden image_ of the Virgin Mary. Impious as such doctrines are, they are now believed by Roman Catholics.
I was myself personally acquainted with archbishop Troy, and I remember, when young, that he and the priests by whom I was instructed, took much more pains in impressing upon my mind the truth of such miracles, as that of the wooden Virgin Mary, than they did the truths of the Gospel; and, in fact, every Catholic is taught to rest his _salvation_, almost entirely, upon the intercession of the _virgin_. Ninety-nine in a hundred of Irish Catholics rest all their hopes of salvation on the Virgin Mary. They adore her, they wors.h.i.+p her, and what is worse, Popish bishops and priests teach them to do so. They even compel them to adore the virgin, though the miserable beings have the hardihood to deny it before Americans. But will they dare do it before me? When a poor, ignorant Catholic goes to confession, the usual penance imposed by the priest, for minor offences, is the repet.i.tion of the following address to the Virgin Mary, two or three times a day, for a week or more, according to the heinousness of the sin committed:!!!!!
"Holy Mary, Holy mother of G.o.d, Holy virgin of virgins, Mother of Christ, Mother of divine grace, Mother most pure, Mother most chaste, Mother undefiled, Mother untouched, Mother most amiable, Mother most admirable, Mother of our Creator, Mother of our Redeemer, Virgin most prudent, Virgin most venerable, Virgin most renowned, Virgin most powerful, Virgin most merciful, Virgin most faithful, Mirror of justice, Seat of wisdom, Cause of our joy, Spiritual vessel, Vessel of honor, Vessel of singular devo-Mystical rose, Tower of David, Tower of ivory, House of gold, Ark of the covenant, Gate of heaven, Morning star, Health of the weak, Refuge of sinners, Comfort of the afflicted, Help of Christians, Queen of angels, Queen of patriarchs, Queen of prophets, Queen of apostles, Queen of martyrs, Queen of confessors, Queen of virgins, Queen of all saints."
The above tissue of blasphemy is daily, nay, several times in a day, repeated by Catholic priests and their _penitents;_ and I am much mistaken, if there is upon the face of the globe, whether in Pagan, Mahometan,1 or Heathen countries or creeds, to be found any thing equally blasphemous, or more disgusting to the mind of any individual who believes in the _pardon of sin through the atonement of Christ_; and I hesitate not to say, that the Christian, who countenances such a doctrine, or contributes, in any way, to its propagation, denies his Saviour, and shows himself unworthy of the name he bears.
To the professed infidel I have nothing to say. To him, who mocks and scoffs at the Triune G.o.d, I will attach no blame; with him I have nothing in common, further than brotherhood of the same species; but I must appeal to the Christian, and seriously ask him, Why do you encourage such blasphemy as this address to the Virgin Mary? Why do you encourage its propagation amongst your brethren? Why do you hold communion with those who utter it? Would the primitive Christians, if they now lived, hold any communion with idolaters? Would they contribute their money to build temples for _Isis and Dagon?_ Would they basely bend the knee to the golden calf of old? No. Sooner--much sooner--would they lay their heads upon the block. They would look upon it as a denial of their G.o.d, and a recantation of their faith in him. Would your Puritan forefathers give the right hand of fellows.h.i.+p to the wors.h.i.+ppers of a wooden image? Would they give their money to a priest, to build churches, and teach his followers that they could hew out for them images of wood, possessing power to work miracles, or in other words, to change the laws of nature, which the _Eternal Law-Maker_ alone can change or suspend?
Custom, the point of the bayonet, or even that cruel tyrant, early education, may enforce such idolatry on the Old World; but the free-born American, unbia.s.sed by education--unawed by tyrants--has no apology. His submission to such doctrines is an unqualified surrender of his reason, his religion, and the liberties of his country.
When the star of our independence first arose, it was hailed by the Christian philosophers of the old world, as a foreshadowing of the downfall of tyranny, superst.i.tion, and idolatry. They looked upon it as fatal to the b.a.s.t.a.r.d Paganism, taught in the Popish church; but what must be their astonishment, if permitted at the present day to look down upon our country, and see our people practising that same Paganism, nicknamed Christianity, and asking from our government protection--a privilege which the framers of our const.i.tution never intended should be extended to tyrants or idolaters!
Here I would stop, and never more put pen to paper, for or against Popery, did I not see many of my fellow-citizens, possessing the finest minds and precious souls, falling victims to the sophistry, ingenuity, and quibbling casuistry of Popish priests and bishops.
It is not long since I saw a letter from the Roman Catholic bishop Fenwick, of the diocese of Ma.s.sachusetts, in which he informs the _authorities of Rome_ that he is making converts from some of the _first families_ in his diocese. This, I presume, is correct, and these are the very individuals most easily imposed upon. They know nothing of Popery.
They are not aware that Papists have two sides to the picture, which they exhibit of their church. One is fair, brilliant, dazzling, and seductive. Nothing is seen in their external forms of wors.h.i.+p but showy vestments, dazzling tights, and the appearance of great devotion.