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whose creed is neither watched 'nor regulated by any superior power; and who has no more than a common right with himself to interpret the doctrines of Scripture? If he is not satisfied with his own pastor, he goes to another, and is puzzled with the difference of his doctrine: he sees a champion for methodism in one pulpit, and an orthodox member of the church of England in another; he becomes perplexed; he has no means of extricating himself from his difficulties ;-he goes to the meeting-house, where he either finds an enthusiast, or a knave, crafty enough to make merchandise of him, ") by the apparent vehemence of his zeal; or confounded by the absurdity and folly of the doctrines which he hears, he becomes an unbeliever; and, probably, in the end, degenerates into a pest to society. And how can it be otherwise ? He sees nothing to command his confidence, and without confidence he can have no fixed and steadfast faith, and must needs walk in darkness, and know not whither he goeth."
(k? 2 St. Peter, ii. 1-3. But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there shall be among you lying teachers, who shall bring in sects of perdition, and deny the Lord who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction. And through covetousness shall they, with feigned words, make merchandise of you ; whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their perdition slumbereth not.
(0) St. John, xii. 35.
It is far different with the Catholic ; to him indeed the ways of God are so straight that even fools shall not err therein ;m) the most lowly, the most illiterate, and the niost busily employed, may be as firm and sincere in their faith as those who have both ability to read, leisure to discuss, and capacity to understand. They willingly take the preacher's word for the doctrine which he inculcates, because they have confidence in it's orthodoxy. They know if it were unsound, that he would be immediately displaced; he is the authorized organ of the Catholic church, and as such they bow submission to him.
Were they addressed by St.' Peter himself, they would not believe him with a firmer faith.") A man must be a controvertist to be a protestant; he has only to be an humble disciple of Christ to be a catholic: and when once a catholic, he is fixed in unfailing
(m) Isai. xxxv. 8. (n) St. Paul says, “ Faith comes by hearing; and it was the custom during the earliest ages of the Church, to convey all religious instruction viva voce. It was many centuries before any written catechism was adopted; and, generally speaking, the scriptures were read and explained publicly, and not privately. The people knew from whom they learnt their doctrines, and who had sent them their pastors : so far were they from adopting the licence of private interpretation, or listening to unauthorized teach
If any did so, they were immediately rejected from the society of the true followers of the gospel.
security; The true religion is built upon a rock ; the rest are tossed upon the waves of time." ) Lastly:
:- I cannot conform to Protestantism, because, when I reflect how necessary, even in health and prosperity, are the consolations of religion, of the religion of the God of all comfort; I cannot but experience a melancholy dread of being bereft of it's cheering influence when oppressed by trouble, or languishing on the bed of sickness, or of death. Come to me all labour and are burthened, and I will refresh you,
(9) is an invitation of the kind and benevolent Jesus, the most applicable to the professors of that religion which abounds most in consolation; which affords us a more intimate intercourse with our spiritual pastors, and more copious means of applying the merits of our Redeemer to our souls. If our conscience be loaded with the guilt of sin, in the sorrow of our hearts we apply to our pastors, and find a remedy for our troubles in sacramental confession. There the fever of the soul is assuaged, the pangs of remorse are quieted, and iniquity is washed away, because by an act of obedience of humiliation-of sincere repentance for our transgressions-joined with a sincere purpose of amendment for the future, she is reconciled
(.) Lord Bacon
(1) 2 Cor. i. 3. (9) St. Matt. xi. 28.
with her Creator. The confession of our sins may be repulsive in theory, but it is most consoling in practice. It is also a strong arguinent in favor of this doctrine of the Catholic Church, that, however benign its influence and soothing its effects, it is yet so contrary to the inclinations of man, and so opposite to our nature, that it is impossible to have been of human institution. If, again, our troubles arise, not from the pressure of any particular criminality on the conscience, but from some of the melancholy list of misfortunes incidental to mankind, we still have recourse to our pastors. We are healed of our lesser offences and imperfections, by the sacrament of penance; we receive comfort from the advice of our spiritual director, and having thus PROVED ourselves, we venture to the great sacrament of grace, the communion of the body and the blood of Christ.(9) Does Protestantism provide us with such a refuge in our necessities, such manifold sources of consolation in our troubles ?
But it is upon the bed of sickness, and of death, that the superior comforts of our religion are the most striking. It is a lamentable truth, that the Protestant clergyman is but seldom found by the couch of the dying Christian : he is but rarely sent for, and seldom comes; and if he does make
(P) 1 Cor. xi. 2.
(9) 1 Cor. x. 16.
his appearance, it is only to hurry over a few prayers, and escape from the distressing scene. In cases of fever and contagion, they will not, perhaps, in consideration of their families, they cannot attend. () But where is the Catholic, however poor and forlorn, dying within reach of a clergyman of his own communion, who does not receive both the benefits and the consolations of his religion? Where is the pastor who shrinks from the functions of his ministry, from fear of taking the disease with which his penitent is afflicted, and of paying the forfeit of his life in the cause of charity? Where is the cabin so wretched that does not find him a ready inmate—the being so destitute, to whom he is not a willing and a faithful friend—the malady so loathsome or infectious, as to drive the messenger of the God of all comfort from the performance of his duty? It is not from one solitary visit that the penitent sinner, or the just man, derives consolation, (for even the just man requires consolation when the terrors of death are upon him) but from a series of unremitting attentions during the whole course of his disorder.
Nor is it by mere exhortation and prayer that the contrition of the dying man is excited, his con
() This single circumstance pleads more eloquently for the celibacy of the clergy, than a whole volume upon
the subject could possibly do.