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Well, we do so. Yet they say we misrepresent them. How can that be? They may misrepresent and contradict themselves, but it is hard to hold us responsible for that. If we are ignorant of their tenets, it is because they do not themselves constantly hold to them. If they let go their doctrines, as soon as Protestants attack and expose them, and resorting to explanations, evasions and glosses, do thus virtually take hold of something different from their original and published tenets, we are not to blame for that, I should think.
But Mr. B. tells us what makes our ignorance so surprising: “when we all, whatever be our country, think alike.” Do they all think alike? They did not always all think alike. See history. And so far as they do think alike, does the reader know how it comes about? It is by virtue of not thinking at all. But grant they all think alike. Does it follow that they think right? Has no error ever been very popular? The world all thought alike once on astronomy -all held the earth to be the centre of the system. But did they think right? However, it is convenient to have a large number of persons all think alike, for then, if you can ascertain what one thinks, you know what all think, and if you read one book, you know what is in them all. So, if you chance to fall in with a Spanish or Italian Catholic, and he tells you what he thinks, you know what every English and American Catholic thinks, for they “all think alike.” So, if you take up one catechism or book of instruction and read that, you know what they all ought to contain. It saves a great deal of trouble. But the Vicar complains bitterly of the Bishop of
THOUGHTS ON POPERY.
Durham, for asserting that the Catholics suppress the second commandment. He says it is no such thing, and that any school boy could tell him different. And he affirms that a catechism was put into the hands of the Bishop containing that commandment, and still he persisted in his assertion. The Bishop was right; and “nothing is more surprising” than that Mr. B. should deny it. I have myself seen two different catechisms, published in Ireland by Catholic book-sellers, and under the highest Catholic authority, from both of which the second commandment was excluded; and it is left out of “the Christian's Guide," published in Baltimore by the Catholics, as any one may see for himself. Now what could Mr. B. say to this? Would he say, “O! those were published in Ireland and America.” But he says, we all, whatever be our country, think alike.” Would he say that he spoke of 1809, and these were published since ? But it is their boast that they not only do now all think alike, but that they always did think alike. Would he say that if it was left out of those catechisms, yet it was retained in others? Yes; but if their catechisms differ, how do they all think alike? Besides, no one ever accused the Catholics of leaving the second commandment out of every one of their books. But why do they leave it out of any ? Will they please to say why they leave it out of any ? They have never condescended to answer that question. They always evade it. If a man should publish successive editions of the laws of any country, and should leave out of some of the editions a certain important law, would it be sufficient for him to say that he did not leave it out of all the editions? Why did he leave it out of
any? Why did he not make them all uniform ? A man may as well tell me I have no eyes, as deny that some Catholic catechisms have been published without the second commandment. Now, why was ever a catechism published under Catholic sanction without it? Did they ever publish one in which they omitted any other of the commandments? Did Protestants ever publish a list of the commandments with one omitted, and another divided so as to make out the ten? Alas for them! there is no getting out of this dilemma into which they have brought themselves by their mutilation of the decalogue. It is about the most unfortunate thing they ever did for themselves. I do not wonder that Mr. B. was restless under the charge. But surely, he had too much good sense to suppose that he had answered the Bishop, when he showed him a catechism that had the commandment in it. It is as if a man, charged with falsehood in a particular instance, should undertake to answer the charge by showing that in another instance he had spoken the truth. The Catholics are very uneasy to get rid of this millstone about the neck of their religion. They see it is in danger of sinking it. But they cannot slip it off so easy; and if they cannot manage to swim with it, it must sink them. Well, if it does, and nothing but the system goes to the bottom, I shall not be sorry.
In the course of his letter, Mr. B. speaks of “the anarchical principle of private judgment." And is this a principle which leads to anarchy ? Paul did not seem to think so. He says: “Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.” What anarchy must have existed in the Berean church, wheré, after
hearing the word, they “searched the Scriptures daily, whether these things were so !" What confusion there must have been where all read and thought for themselves! They needed an Inquisitor to set things to rights. He is the man to mend matters when people fall to "searching the Scriptures." Well, if the 19th century will tolerate the denunciation of private judgment on any subject, I suppose it must be so; but I cannot say Amen.
58. A New Method of Exciting Devotion.
There seems to be no end to new discoveries. Marching mind appears to have no idea of halting. Probably improvements will go on until the world itself terminates. What should I see, in taking up the Observer of January 3d, but an article headed “Cathedral at St. Louis ?" Then followed a description taken, be it known, not from any scandalous Protestant paper, but from the Catholic Telegraph, printed at Cincinnati
, of the building, altar, &c. By the way, the altar is of stone, but they tell us this is only temporary, and will soon be superseded by a superb marble altar which is hourly expected from Italy. Why go all the way to Italy for an altar ? Why not employ our own mechanics and artists? We have marble enough here, and men enough. But I suppose it is a present. Our country is receiving a great many presents now from abroad. Foreign Catholics are particularly kind to us. You know we are making the
great experiment whether a free, representative government can sustain itself; and our Austrian and Italian brethren, sympathizing with us, want to help us all they can. They mourn especially over the deplorable lack of religion in this country, and are anxious to supply it. Nor is it in building and furnishing churches alone that they are disposed to help us. They cannot bear to see our children growing up in such ignorance. They are not used (they would have us believe) to an ignorant population; and then, what is to become of the republic if the people are not educated ? So they come from Ireland, France, Italy, and all those countries, male and female, to educate us. A sceptical person might be tempted to ask if there is nothing of the kind to be done at home-if, for example, they cannot find any uneducated children in Ireland, but they must come over here to find them. However that be, they come. But what strikes me with wonder, is, that when they get here, they are all for educating Protestant children. Why do they not give the children of Catholics, their own people, a chance? There are many of them scattered over the land, and they are not all self-taught. I should like to have this ex*plained. Common sense suggests that there must be a motive for making this distinction, and shrewdly suspects it is proselytism. Charity waits to hear if any more creditable reason can be assigned. But this is digression.
Well, on the 26th of October the grand building was consecrated. The procession consisted of an “ecclesiastical corps” amounting to fifty or sixty, of whom four were bishops, and twenty-eight priests, twelve of whom were from twelve different nations. You see