« PredošláPokračovať »
incurred debts, if they took up arms in the Crusade, “need not pay the interest for the past." He confirms the decree, and renews the promise of his predecessor abovenamed, Urban II.
Again; in Dupin's "Ecclesiastical History" (Dupin is a Roman Catholic historian), we find that at the Council of Lateran, A.D. 1215, Innocent III. not only granted to those who would fight in the Crusades "a plenary indulgence of all their sins," but also promised them " a more perfect degree of eternal happiness than to others," (Dupin, vol. ii. p. 453.)
We now come to later times; and we find, in 1850, the present Pope, Pius IX., granted an Indulgence. For what, think ye, and to whom was it granted?-To all those who should pray before the "Winking Picture," at Rimini! I quote from "The Lamp," a Roman Catholic newspaper, Sept. 21st, 1850, the following Brief of Pope Pius IX., to the Bishop of Rimini :
"You may imagine, Venerable Brother, what a consolation to our heart was your letter of the 29th of this month, wherein you inform us that you, and the Clergy of the City of Rimini, long, with the utmost ardour, to give to the most Holy Virgin a public and striking mark of your eminent piety and gratitude; that you have resolved to adorn with a crown of gold that picture, which under the title of the Mother of Mercy, and according to the report you gave us of it, having been rendered famous for two months past throughout all this country, by the miraculous movement of its eyes, is to the great advantage of the Faithful honoured and venerated with much piety and devotion * * * "For these causes, by these presents, we grant and concede to you, Venerable Brother, with our entire good will, the permission to offer in our name and with our authority, a crown of gold to that picture of the most Holy Virgin to-morrow, under the title of Mother of Mercy, taking care to observe throughout what ought to be observed in such a ceremony **
"Furthermore, by our apostolical authority, to all and every of the faithful of both sexes, who having confessed and communicated, shall devoutly visit the church where the holy picture is placed, and shall there pray from the heart for our intentions, and those of our Holy Mother the Church; we grant, in the mercy of the Lord, a Plenary Indulgence and the remission of all sins applicable to the souls in Purgatory."
We now consult Mr. Oakeley regarding this Papal Decree; and it becomes at once a grand uncertainty, a matter encompassed by difficulties; for, according to this book, such Bulls are commonly "spurious and apocryphal!"
Let us now, however, come nearer home. We instance the primary cause of these Lectures-" the great Indulgence of Portiuncula," at St. John's Roman Catholic Chapel,
Islington. Here we find the Rev. Frederick Oakeley, "prostrate at the feet of his Holiness," humbly soliciting the Indulgence of Portiuncula. His request is granted.* Pius IX. promises an Indulgence to all those who shall pray in that chapel "for the exaltation of the Roman Catholic Church, and the extirpation of heresies" (and, I presume, with heresy, of Heretics also); to all such he grants "a Plenary Indulgence, in the Lord, for all their sins!" So that even this Bull of the Portiuncula Indulgence, notwithstanding all that has been said about it, becomes an utter uncertainty! Pius IX. proclaims to all those who will worship in yonder chapel, "a Plenary Indulgence for all their sins;" but Mr. Oakeley, the Priest of the chapel, considers "such Bulls to be commonly spurious and apocryphal!"
The author divides his book into four parts, and I shall take the liberty of making a fifth division. I. he treats of "Indulgences in General;" II. of " Indulgences in Particular;" III. of "Confraternities and Sodalities; IV. of "The Jubilee;" and to these I add that which is distributed throughout the whole book, and which lays the axe to the root of this destructive error, V. "The utter Uncertainty and Inefficiency of the System," Mr. Oakeley himself being judge.
First, then, as to the system of "Indulgences generally." The author gives a definition of an Indulgence, as we defined it on a former occasion, when we took these four objections to it—(I.) That there is no such thing as "punishment remaining due to sin" after the sin is forgiven, and by way of satisfaction to the justice of God. (II.) That there is no such place as "Purgatory," from which the soul can be released by Indulgences. (III.) That there is no such thing in existence, as the merits of Saints who have done over and above what it was their duty to do, and which can be applied to those who have done less than is their duty. And (IV.) even if there were such an accumulated treasure in existence, that such is not placed in the custody, or at the disposal of, the Pope of Rome ;-these points remain unanswered!
In Article I., "of the punishment due to sin" (p. 3)
*See Catholic Standard, July 31st, 1852.
the Author says, "There are two kinds of actual sin (called also personal sins, in opposition to original sin), that is, mortal sin and venial sin." Of course, were I to go through all these principal and essential doctrines of Romanism, on the present occasion, the morning sun would have arisen before I should cease my task. I do not, then, intend now to enter into all these distinct doctrines, such as the difference between "mortal" and "venial" sins; I shall merely take a cursory glance at such as I proceed. I may just say, then, that this distinction between "mortal" and "venial" sin practically encourages immorality and vice in those who hold the doctrine; and this thought itself would be enough to condemn it in the mind of any true Christian, as it can be proved that such distinction is practically subversive of truth, morality, and even common-place honesty. Dr. Doyle's (a Roman Catholic Bishop) "Catechism" (p. 63), we have the following question :-" When is a theft mortal sin ?"-Now, suppose a child is asked this question? He naturally thinks with himself, "Then theft is not always a mortal sin!" and proceeds to examine how much he may steal from this or that person, and yet be guiltless of breaking God's command? and this search he can prosecute, with great success, in Dens' "Theology," in the works of Liguori, and others. Of course, I have not time now to enter into all these; but the following is the answer to the question:
Ques. "When is a theft mortal sin?"
Ans. "When the thing stolen is of considerable value, or causeth a considerable hurt to our neighbour."
Thus a child or an adult person sees a piece of money on his master's desk; it is not of any considerable value, and to steal it would not make the owner a whit the poorer. The vicious propensity is satisfied, and yet, in Romish theology, no breach of God's commandments ensues!
In p. 46 of this same Catechism,"—which, you should remember, is an accredited document in the Church of Rome, in chapter VIII., this question is asked:
Ques. "By what kind of sins are the Commandments broken?" Ans. 66 By mortal sins only; for venial sins are not, strictly speaking, contrary to the end of the Commandments, which is charity. Because a
venial sin -for example, a vain word, the theft of a pin, or an apple, is not of weight enough to break charity betwixt man and man, much less betwixt God and man.'
This is a question in theology (?) which Protestants, thank God, are never taught. We know from God's word that "all unrighteousness is sin!" The Roman Catholic, however, is taught differently. He is instructed, in the first place, to understand, that every theft is not a breach of the commandment of God, which says, "Thou shalt not steal." Think, my Brethren, "the theft of an apple," for instance, not an infringement of the law of God!
"Of man's first disobedience, and the fruit
Of that forbidden tree, whose mortal taste
Surely this single fruit thus taken by our first parents was not in itself "of any considerable value." Yet the act thus done contrary to the word and command of God, entailed on themselves and their posterity the dreary inheritance of woe and wretchedness, of pain and suffering, of sin and death!
The folly of such teaching in the Roman Catholic Church may further appear from the following illustration: Suppose a poor woman to have invested all that she hath in a fruit-stall, and that some twenty persons come and secretly remove each an apple; no one person of them has stolen " any considerable value; no considerable hurt" has been done by any one of them, and yet, in the aggregate, much harm has befallen her; still, according to the above, no one sin, not one breach of God's commandment has been effected! This may be Romanism, and it is, but assuredly it is not Christianity!
The Holy Scriptures teach a holier practice and better theology than that which Rome teaches.
In Deuteronomy xxvii. 26 (I quote from the Douay version), we have these words, "Cursed be he that abideth not in the words of this law."
We have likewise another passage, which soul that sinneth it. shall die," Ezek. xviii. 20. It does not say the soul that sinneth in this way or in that way, but "the soul that sinneth it shall die." "Sinneth ; it is an abstract and universal expression, and admits of no
exception; every sin, both small and great, is included therein.
Having thus shown that this primary point is unfounded, what think ye, if the first step fails, what must the second and subsequent stages be?
The writer then proceeds, in the book which has been thus recommended to me: "The punishment due to mortal sins is eternal." I believe the punishment due to any sin is eternal, unless that sin be forgiven by the mercy and lovingkindness of God. He says this is a point "we must either admit, or wholly renounce the Roman Catholic faith.' This may be true; I believe the punishment due to mortal sin is eternal, if not forgiven; but I again dispute the term "mortal," for I hold that every sin is mortal in its nature and mortal in its consequences, unless that fearful doom which is promised to sin be averted by the interposition of One " mighty to save." I find it registered in the records of inspiration-and who can dispute it?that "the wages of sin is death." Any such distinction, then, must be unscriptural, and, as such, hateful to God. I now quote from p. 4,- "God, in his infinite mercy, has furnished man with one means of delivering himself from the abyss of sin into which he may have fallen, but with one only, the Sacrament of Penance." My Brethren, is this true? I ask the veriest Romanist here, is it true? Can this consist in any way with St. Peter's inspired teaching, where he proclaims Christ Jesus as the only Saviour? "This is the Stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. Neither is there salvation in any other, for there is none other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved," Acts iv. 11, 12. Yes, my Roman Catholic brethren! there is one only and exclusive means of salvation, Christ, and Christ alone; and yet in this book it is said, that God "has provided only one means" of reconciliation with the sinner, and that that means is "the Sacrament of Penance!" I fear our examination this evening will be a very trying ordeal to those whose minds have been scripturally instructed. It has grieved myself while perusing these pages for your instruction, in order to expose its errors, and to show you a more excellent way," to find that a man once, at least, professing the