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kingdom is presented to us by both prophets and apostles; viz. the spirit of persecution. "I will openly," says he, "before God and man, declare my conviction that the necessity of keeping up the appearance of infallibility makes the church of Rome essentially and invariably tyrannical; that it leads the church to hazard both the temporal and the eternal happiness of men, rather than alter what has once received the sanction of her authority; and that, in the prosecution of her object, she overlooks the rights of truth, and the improvement of the human understanding."
He then refers to one of the decrees of the council of Trent, which, after declaring the lawfulness of infant baptism, thus proceeds:-"If any one should say that these baptized children, when they grow up, are to be asked whether they will confirm what their godfathers promised in their name; and that, if they say they will not, they are to be left to their own discretion, and not to be forced in the mean time into the observance of the Christian life, by any other punishment than that of keeping them from the reception of the eucharist and other sacraments till they repent, LET HIM BE ACCURSED." Canon viii. and xiv. De Baptismo. On this awful anathema, Mr. White thus comments:-"The council of Trent has thus converted the sacrament of Baptism into an indelible bond of slavery; whoever has received the waters of regeneration is the thrall of her who declares that there is no other church of Christ. She claims her slaves wherever they may be found, declares them subject to her laws, both written and traditional, and by her infallible sanction dooms them to indefinite punishment, till they shall acknowledge her authority, and bend their necks to her yoke. Such is, has been, and ever will be, the doctrine of the Roman Catholic church;-such is the belief of her true and sincere members;such the spirit that actuates her views, and which, by every possible means, she has always spread among her children. Him that denies this doctrine, Rome devotes to perdition. The principle of religious tyranny, supported by persecution, is a necessary condition of Roman Catholicism: he who revolts at the idea of compelling belief by punishment is severed at once from the communion of Rome."
From our author's observations on the subject of the laws which bind the Catholic clergy to perpetual celibacy, and her
MR. BLANCO WHITE ON THE PAPAL CHURCH.
monastic vows, I would gladly make a few quotations; though the subject is a delicate one. The world rings with the praises of the unmarried state, which the writers of the Roman Catholic church, her fathers, Popes, and councils, have sounded from age to age. Our author, however, tells a somewhat different tale, and he speaks from observation and experience! His letter on this subject is deeply affecting. "My feelings," says he, "are painfully vehement when I dwell upon this subject-the remembrance of the victims which I have seen, still wrings tears from my eyes; and these are proofs that my views arise from a real, painful, and protracted experience. The intimacy of friendship, the undisguised converse of sacramental confession, opened to me the hearts of many, whose exterior conduct might have deceived a common observer. The coarse frankness of associate dissoluteness left, indeed, no secrets among the spiritual slaves, who, unable to separate the laws of God from those of their tyrannical church, trampled both under foot in riotous despair. "Such," says he, "are the sources of knowledge I possess-God, sorrow, and remorse, are my witnesses." The instances which he records of the friends of his youth, "not one of whom was tainted by the breath of gross vice, till the church had doomed them to a life of celibacy, and turned the best affections of their hearts into crime," are awfully appalling.
And yet, when he comes to touch the picture of female convents, his language rises in interest and animation. "I cannot find tints," says he, "sufficiently dark and gloomy to pourtray the miseries which I have witnessed in their inmates; crime, indeed, makes its way into those recesses, in spite of the spiked walls and prison gates, which protect the inmates. This I know with all the certainty which the self-accusation of the guilty can give! The great poet (Cowper), who boasted that, "slaves cannot live in England," forgot that superstition may baffle the most sacred laws of freedom: slaves do live in England, and, I fear, do multiply daily by the same arts which fill the convents abroad. In vain does the law of the land stretch a friendly hand to the repentant victim: the unhappy slave may be dying to break her fetters; yet death would be preferable to the shame and reproach that await her among relatives and friends. It will
not avail her to keep the vow which dooms her to live single: she has renounced her will, and made herself a passive mass of clay in the hands of a superior. Perhaps she has promised to practise austerities which cannot be performed out of the convent-never to taste meat if her life depended on the use of substantial food-to wear no linen-to go unhosed and unshod for life; all these, and many other hardships, make part of the various rules which Rome has confirmed with her sanction." But I must not proceed further with this extract. A Protestant naturally enquires, "Has the New Testament recommended vows of this description-perpetual vows?" Certainly not; and yet the church of Rome encourages and sanctions them in the most shocking manner. "They are laid on almost infants of both sexes! Innocent girls of sixteen are lured by the image of heroic virtue, and a pretended call of their Saviour, to promise they know not what, and make engagements for a whole life of which they have seen but the dawn." In his exposition of this appalling enormity, Mr. White is led to mention the case of two of his own sisters who fell victims to this fanatical phrensy, and both of whom died when they had been a few years under the discipline of the convent! Oh, the picture which he has drawn of the case of these two amiable and accomplished females is most heart-rending! I shall take my leave of the volume by a short extract, in which our author relates the miserable fate of his youngest sister.
"At the age of twenty she left an infirm mother to the care of servants and strangers, and shut herself up in a convent, where she was not allowed to see even her nearest relations. With a delicate frame, requiring every indulgence to support it in health, she embraced a rule which denied her the comforts of the lowest class of society. A coarse woollen frock fretted her skin; her feet had no covering but that of shoes open at the toes, that they might expose them to the cold of a brick floor; a couch of bare planks was her bed, and an unfurnished cell her dwelling. Disease soon filled her conscience with fears; and I had often to endure the torture of witnessing her agonies at the confessional. I left her, when I quitted Spain, dying much too slowly for her only chance of relief.. I wept bitterly for her loss two years after : : yet I could not be so cruel as to wish her alive." p. 145, 6.
MR. BLANCO WHITE ON THE PAPAL CHURCH.
Such is the author's description of the moral character of the religion of the church of Rome, and I presume I have quoted enough from his book to satisfy any unprejudiced mind of the demoralizing tendency of that religion. Should you wish for more, I refer you to the work itself, where you will find things, if possible, more diabolical than any thing I have quoted; * but I must entreat your patience while, by way of supplement, I give you an extract from a book of travels, published by one of our own countrymen, rather more than 200 years ago. The author, Sir Edwin Sandys, was the son of an archbishop of York of that name, and took great pains to make himself acquainted with the religion of the church of Rome, which he thus describes-you must make the necessary allowance for the quaintness of his style, which was that of the age in which he lived.
* The exposure which Mr. White has made of the deceptions that are practised by the clergy of the church of Rome, by means of forged miracles and lying legendary tales, in order to impose upon their credulous votaries, would be amusing were it not for the painful consideration that the interests of the soul, and concerns of eternal moment, are at stake; "the leaders of this people cause them to err, and they that are led of them are destroyed," Isa. ix. 16. But let me request the reader to ponder well the drift of the following quotation from Mr. White's volume.
"I had a mother, and such a mother as, did I possess the talents of your great poet (Pope) tenfold, they would have been honoured in doing homage to the powers of her mind, and the goodness of her heart. No woman could love her children more ardently, and none of those children was more vehemently loved than myself. But the Roman Catholic creed had poisoned in her the purest source of affection. I saw her, during a long period, unable to restrain her tears in my presence. I perceived that she shunned my conversation, especially when my University friends drew me into topics above those of domestic talk. I loved her, and this behaviour cut me to the heart. In my distress I applied to a friend, to whom she used to communicate all her sorrows, and, to my utter horror, I learnt that, suspecting me of Anti-catholic principles, my mother was distracted by the fear that she might be obliged to accuse me to the inquisition, if I incautiously uttered some condemned proposition in her presence. To avoid the barbarous necessity of being the instrument of my ruin, she could find no other means but that of shunning my preDid this unfortunate mother overrate or mistake the nature of her Roman Catholic duties? By no means: the inquisition was established by the supreme authority of her church; and, under that authority, she was enjoined to accuse any person whatever, whom she might overhear uttering heretical opinions. No exception was made in favour of father, children, husbands, wives: to conceal was to abet their errors, and doom two souls to eternal perdition. A sentence of excommunication, to be incurred in the fact, was annually published against all persons, who, having heard a proposition directly or indirectly contrary to the Romish faith, omitted to inform the inquisitors upon it. Could any sincere Catholic slight such a command ?"-p. 63-5.
"To come now to the view of their ecclesiastical government, as addressed to the upholding of the worldly power and glory of their order, I think I may truly say, there never yet was a STATE, framed by the wit of man, in this world, more powerful and forcible to work these effects; never any more wisely contrived and plotted, or more constantly and diligently put in practice and execution, insomuch that, but for the natural weakness of untruth and dishonesty, which, being rotten at the core, abate the force of whatever is founded thereon, their outward means were sufficient to subdue the whole world.
"The particular methods they have adopted in order to ravish all affections, and to fit each humour (which, their jurisdiction and power being but persuasive and voluntary, they principally regard) are well nigh infinite, there being not any thing either sacred or profane, scarcely any virtue or vice, no things, however contrary their condition, which they do not make in some way to serve their turn, so that each fancy may be satisfied, and each appetite find what to feed on. Whatsoever either wealth can sway with the lovers, or voluntary poverty with the despisers, of the world; what honour can achieve with the ambitious, obedience with the humble, great employment with stirring and mettled spirits; what perpetual quiet can effect with heavy and restive spirits; whatever satisfaction the pleasant nature can take in pastimes and jollity; what, contrariwise, the austere mind finds gratifying in discipline and rigor; what love either chastity can raise in the pure, or voluptuousness in the dissolute; what allurements are found in knowledge to draw the contemplative, or in the affairs of state to engage the man of business; whatever, with the hopeful, prerogative of reward can work; what errors, doubts, and dangers, may operate with the fearful, change of vows with the rash, or of estate with the inconstant; what pardons with the faulty, or supplies with the defective what miracles with the credulous, visions with the fanatical, gorgeousness of shows with the vulgar and simple; what a multiplicity of ceremonies can effect with the superstitious and ignorant, prayer with the devout, or works of piety with the charitable; what rules of higher perfection can operate upon persons of elevated affections; what a dispensing with a breach of all rules can produce upon persons of lawless condition; in short, what