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avenging justice.” So it seems the faithful are the objects of God's avenging justice. I always thought that justice exacted its full demand of Christ. I don't know what the ipocrypha says about it, but holy Scripture informs me that God can now be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus; and that if we confess our ns, he is faithful and just to forgive them. Are not the faithful pardoned; and how is pardon consistent with vengeance ?
The prayer goes on thus: “Remember, O Lord, thou art their Father, and they are thy children. Forget the faults, which, through the frailty of human nature, they have committed against thee." Then a little farther on: “Remember, O Lord, that they are thy living members, thy faithful followers, thy spouses.” Here you see these sufferers are God's children; and they are suffering for mere faults, which they fell into through frailty. This seems hard. But they are not only God's children; they are Christ's living members, his faithful followers, his spouses; and he died for them--and yet there they are burning-pardoned, yet suffering punishmentinterested in the satisfaction of Christ, yet making satisfaction for themselves-paying over again the penalty which the Savior discharged. And this is the Catholic gospel! Is it not “another gospel ?”
“not another.” It is no gospel. It is a contradiction of the good news.
I quote but one more petition : “Deliver them, () most merciful God, from that place of darkness and torture, and call them to a place of refreshment, light and peace.” The reader will remember that this prayer is for the faithful. It is they who, having
been " faithful unto death,” go to a place of darkness and torture. There they “rest from their labors.” I don't know, for my part, what worse can befall unbelievers than this. Truly, here is no great encouragement to believing. What a consolitary doctrine this to break in the ear of a dying disciple! Fear not, be of good cheer, thou art but going to the place of “darkness and torture.” Can it be Jesus who says this to his faithful followers? Can this be Christian doctrine ? It certainly is not well calculated to make dying easy. With such a prospect before them, I do not wonder that Catholics find it hard to die-verily death has a sting, and the grave a victory, if the Catholic doctrine of purgatory be true.
48. An Improvement.
I always hail improvements. I am always glad to see things taking a turn for the better, even though the improvement be slight. We must not despise the day of small things. Rome was not built in a day, nor will she be overthrown in a day. A system that it took centuries to introduce, cannot be expected to pass away all at once. Even if the improvement be only in phraseology, I rejoice in it, because words not only signify ideas, but sometimes generate them ; so that from using right words, men not unfrequently pass to holding correct ideas on subjects.
The improvement to which I refer relates to phra
seology merely. The case is this. It is the habit among the Catholics, some few months or so after a considerable character dies, to open the church and have a service for him. This has heretofore been announced thus: “High mass will be said or sung for the repose of the soul of such a one, at such a time" -not, the reader will understand, because the soul is at rest, but that it may be at rest. The service is not eucharistic, but supplicatory. This, I observed, was
, done in the case of a recent western bishop, and also in the case of Gen. La Fayette, who, some months after he had died, was discovered not to be at rest. Now, a short time ago the Archbishop of Baltimore died ; and weeks having passed away, the time came to take notice of his soul. Accordingly it was done. But I was struck with the alteration in the wording of the notice. It ran thus: -- A fur ral rvice will be performed in the cathedral for the late Most Rev. Archbishop Whitfield.” This is certainly better than the old way of announcing it. To be sure, it sounds odd to talk of a funeral service for one who was regularly buried some months before. Protestants cannot readily understand it. But waiving this, why the change of phraseology ? The best explanation I can gire of it is this: The Catholics see that the public sense of the community, though sufficiently in their favor, will not tolerate a thing of this kind without a degree of restlessness, not a little annoying to them, and perhaps likely to be injurious to their concern. For see, that reasoning animal, man, who is naturally a logician, and can reason without ever having studied the rules of reasoning, argues something like this : Either the soul for which the mass is said is at rest, or it
is not at rest. If it is at rest, it is preposterous to pray for its repose. It is asking that that may be done which has been done already. When a thing is done, to pray for it is superfluous. Then is the time to give thanks. If, on the other hand, the soul is not at rest, then common sense, which is no fool, asks why they put off the mass so long-why they did not begin to pray for the repose of the soul sooner. It was not kind in them. And common sense, which is also a great querist, inquires how they know the soul did not go immediately to rest; or if it did not, how they know it is not at rest weeks and months after. Common sense, not finding any thing about it in the Bible, wants to know how the Catholics get the information. And so, through fear of the investigation of common sense, they change the phraseology of the notice. It is wise. Well may the authorities of the Roman Catholic church stand in dread of common sense. I do not know any more formidable foe of error and imposition. I confidently look forward to the overthrow of the Catholic religion ; and I expect a great deal of the work of its destruction will be done by common
I have not the dread, which some have, that this religion is going to overrun our country, and rise to dominion here. There is too much common sense abroad in the length and breadth of the land to allow of such a result. The people of the United States will think, and they have a notion that they have a right to think for themselves, without sending to Rome to know if they may. And they will ask questions on subjects, not omitting religion, and they will insist on having a satisfactory answer. The inhabitants of the old world may, if they please, believe on
the ipse dixit of the Pope, but we of the new, before we yield our assent, require a “ Thus saith the Lord,”
quod erat demonstrandum," or something of that nature. You can never get a majority here to believe in contradiction of the five senses. They will stick to it that a thing is what they see and feel and taste it to be-in other words, that bread is bread.
49. The Duke of Brunswick's Fiftieth Reason.
A certain Duke of Brunswick, having many years ago abjured Lutheranism, and become a Catholic, thought it necessary to apologize to the world for his change of religion. It needed an apology. So he wrote down fifty reasons to justify the course he had pursued, and had them printed in a little book, which is entitled "Fifty Reasons why the Roman Catholic religion ought to be preferred to all others." This book the Catholics have free permission to read. O yes—they may read any book but the Bible. There is no objection to their reading books which contain the thoughts of men; but the book which contains the thoughts of God is interdicted! Men know how to express themselves. Men can write intelligibly. But. : ..!!
Fifty reasons ! The Duke must have been conscious, I
suppose, that his reasons were weak, otherwise he would have been satisfied with a less number than fifty. Why does a man want fifty reasons for a thing