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propitiatory sacrifice, for the living and the dead, is offered by them. And if you ask them what they offer, they tell you they offer Christ—that, under their hands, he becomes again, and as often as they choose to make him so, a propitiatory sacrifice that he is as really offered by them in their missal service, as he was by himself on Calvary, only now he is offered in an unbloody manner! This is what their priests do. A priest must have somewhat to offer. He is ordained to offer gifts and sacrifices. Now, the Catholic priest, finding nothing else to offer, pretends to re-offer Christ. For all this—this priesthood, and this sacrifice-every one knows there is no more authority in the Bible than there is for the Hindoo Suttee—the burning of widows.
This is the Roman Catholic doctrine ; but is it Bible doctrine ? I believe, however, that the Catholics say it is no part of doctrine, but of discipline. This is a sorry evasion. It amounts to a confession that some of their ecclesiastical practices have no warrant in Christian doctrine. It is saying that it is a part of their discipline that their clergy do not marry, but no part of their doctrine that they should not.
But let us see how this doctrine or discipline, or by whatever name it may be called, tallies with the Scriptures; and as we proceed, we shall see why the
Catholics are unwilling that the people should read the Bible. We shall see what a world of trouble it would occasion the priests, were they to be in the habit of reading it. Suppose, for example, an intelligent Catholic to take up Paul's first epistle to Timothy for perusal. Well, he reads along until he comes to the third chapter, where he finds Paul telling Timothy what a bishop must be. He must be this and that, and, among other things, “the husband of one wife.” The reader is shocked. “Why, what does this mean? Our priests tell us that a bishop must not marry at all. Our church prohibits all her clergy from marrying. Which is right, our priests and church, or St. Paul ?" He concludes to read on. Coming to verse 4th, he meets with this qualification of the bishop:“one that ruleth well his own house,” i.e. family. But how can he, if not permitted to have a house of his own ? He proceeds: “having his children in subjection." His children-his children!!! What, a bishop having children of his own, and having them collected in a family too! And then there follows a most provoking parenthesis, " for if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God ?" His ruling his own house well is to be a criterion of his ability to take care of the church of God, and yet they say that he must not marry!
But the apostle passes on to speak of the deacons, and to say what they must be ; and in verse 11th, he says what sort of wives they should have—"even so must their wives be grave,” &c. So far from encouraging a doubt whether they should marry or not, Paul gives them directions for choosing a wife.
Now, need any one wonder that the priests do not want to have the Bible read by the people; a Bible which contains such statements as these, and which moreover declares that marriage is honorable in all, without exception of clergy? I do not wonder at it. Who would put into the hands of his children and servants, and recommend to their perusal and belief, a book containing statements so much at variance with his oral communications to them?
But there is a passage a little farther on, at the beginning of chapter 4, which, I suppose, constitutes with the priests a still stronger objection to the popular reading of this part of the Bible particularly. “The Spirit :speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith-forbidding to marry.” Now, they are afraid that if the people were to read this, they might say, “ Why, St. Paul must
church, it forbids to marry." And as it might give the priests some trouble to show that he did not mean their church, the better way is not to let the people know that there is any such passage in the Bible.
39. A Holier State than Matrimony!
In one of his last letters to Mr. Breckenridge, Mr. Hughes, of Philadelphia, says that the Catholic church does not forbid marriage, but "she holds, however, that there is a holier state.” When I had read the letter
thus far, I stopped, and said to myself, “How is this ?
I a holier state ! I must look into this.” So I thought a moment; and I came to the conclusion that I could not hold with the Catholic church in this thing, for the following reasons among others.
1. Because, according to this doctrine there is a holier state than that to which Enoch attained, and from which he was translated ! He, we know, was a married man, and begąt sons and daughters; and it would seem that he married earlier than any other Patriarch! And yet all the while after his marriage, for three hundred years, he walked with God; and "he had this testimony, that he pleased God;" and God, in honor of his eminent piety, translated him " that he should not see death !" Now do you suppose I am going to believe that the state of a Roman priest is holier than that of Enoch; and that he would have been a better man if he had let marriage alone ? Never. I would ask, Do the priests do more than walk with God ? Have they a higher testimony than that they please him? Are they translated? What is the reason we never hear of their holier state being thus honored ?
2. If there be a holier state than matrimony, why did not the law of the Jewish priesthood enjoin celibacy, as the letter tells us the law of the Catholic priesthood does ? Above all, why was not the high priest, whose functions were of the most sacred character, so much as permitted to occupy that holier state ? He was not only authorized, but, it is believed, was obliged to marry.
3. The letter says, speaking of the Catholic church, " the law of her priesthood enjoins celibacy, &c, She
does not choose them (those who marry) for her clergy.” Truly, she is very fastidious in the choice of her clergy. Why need she be so much more particular than Paul required Timothy and Titus to be in the choice of their clergy? Their bishops and deacons might have a wife; but if any “wish to marry," she does not choose them for her clergy!
4. I thought when I read about the holier state, "what if all the world should aspire to the holier state ?" Certainly, if it is holier, they ought to aspire to it. Priests are not the only persons who are commanded to be perfect.
Let the Catholic priesthood no longer make such an ado about their celibacy, as a holier state. Protestants allow their clergy to do as they please in this matter. If they remain unmarried, it is all very well. At the same time they re not extremely solicitous that their ministers should aspire to any holier state than that from which Enoch was translated.
40. Auricular Confession.
I have been thinking with myself, where is the authority for this doctrine and practice of the Catholics whence came the idea of confessing sin to a priest? Every one admits that sin ought to be confessed-but why to a priest? Common sense would seem to dictate that confession should be made immediately to the being offended; especially if he be easily accessi