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these faithless savages, that laid, in the ages of chivalry, the foundation of all that is courteous and honorable, all that is refined, and delicate in modern society.
It is well known that the supposed objectionable tenets of the Catholics have been publicly and solemnly disclaimed, with surprise and horror, by the six most celebrated Catholic Universities in Europe.
They abjure all such ideas as that they are doing God service in the destruction of heretics--that they have no obligation to keep faith with them—and that the Pope can dispense, at pleasure, with any oaths which they may take, to advance their temporal or religious interests. Indeed the two last of these charges directly contradict each other-for if they are allowed by their faith to keep no faith with us, there can be no occasion either for dispensation or absolution. One single proof will be sufficient to set these two formidable and sapient accusations at rest for ever—THE PRESENT EXERTIONS OF THE CATHOLICS FOR EMANCIPATION—the very clamors which are considered by the same ingenious persons as another obstacle to their obtaining their birth-right. If indeed their efforts, their desires are directed to the destruction of our country and the subversion of our religion ; and if they hold perjury no crime when employed in such a cause, they have only to employ it in order to obtain the power they are asking; and, masked in the garb of friendship, to sap the very foundations of our liberties and happiness.
That Catholics consider it a duty to injure and destroy heretics is a charge founded on misrepresentation and falsehood.
It has been publicly denied by the authority of the Pope himself, in a solemn rescript from the congregation of Cardinals in the name of Pius VI. June 1791. It is not only disowned by their priests, but contradicted by every part of their daily conduct, and indeed its only plausible foundation was a form of oath, which to prevent all misconception has been long omitted.
The activity and ingenuity by which many worthy persons have conjured up phantoms to terrify themselves is truly exemplary. So much indeed has a weekly paper,' professing itself attached to the cause of religion, but noted only for the despicable trash with which it disgraces it, been appalled by these bloody spectres of grim Papists, that it sapiently suggests the propriety of transporting the objects of its horror to some distant island - An idea which the high church party should certainly recompense by lavishing its emoluments on the worthy editor. We shall spare but a few words more to dissipate these “airy nothings” that infest the heads of our weaker brethren, and even occasionally discompose the rest, which it is the right of every good alderman to enjoy.
The Catholics believe, it is alleged, that there is no salvation out of the pale of their own Church, and that therefore they must despise and abhor all those, whom they consider as destined to eternal misery. But unfortunately, our own establishment is founded on the very same principle—and many among dissenters draw a circle of peculiar doctrines beyond which there is “no foundation for a sinner's hope.” But the grand objection to
Emancipation with the anility of our nation appears to be, that as some of the ancestors of the Catholics were persecutors and bigots, they must inherit the spirit of their forefathers : and that we are therefore bound by Christian meekness and love to persecute and degrade in re
This mild and liberal law of visiting the sins of the fathers upon the children unto the ninth and tenth generation is at least as wise as it is beneficent. If the dark ages of ignorance and superstition--the merciless reigns of anarchy or despotism-are to be ransacked for the benign purpose of criminating those, who in this age may hold the same speculative doctrines that were professed by wretches destitute of all religion—what sect can be deemed trust-worthy or innocent? While we survey with eager eyes those dark and dreadful times where every object appears greater from the mist with which it is enveloped, we shall find that the charge of persecution is not confined to the zealots of one persuasion. Every religion which has been armed with secular powers and associated with despotic governments in days of the ignorance and degradation of our species has been used as an engine of misery and
And if the papal hierarchy is stained more deeply with blood-if her' annals present more numerous pictures of martyrdom and torture—it is only because its powers were more extensive and its temptations more numerous. If such acts produced from such times are to decide the character of a people, our judges may be considered as monsters because there was a Jeffries-our bishops intolerant because of Laud- and the kingly office itself be regarded as dangerous and terrific, because most of its
sessors have disgraced and afflicted the people whom they have governed. Are the members of the Church of England willing to be considered as bigots, because Cranmer persecuted the anabaptists, and are we dissenters to be regarded as revolutionary, because of the Barebones, and the Cromwells ? Christians of the Calvinistic persuasion! are you content to be considered blood-thirsty and faithless because the reformer, from whom you derived your name, unhappily tinctured with the spirit of the times, procured the death of Servetus? If you are not willing to have his conduct imputed to you, blush for the new doctrine of imputation you have some of you sanctioned, and
, confess the folly of your charges.
What tenet then remains in the Church of Rome, re. duced as it is at present, that is not merely religious and speculative? It performs, indeed, the rite of absolution in nearly the same form as the Church of England—This believes in two sacraments, that in seven-the first holds that the bread and wine are changed into the body and blood of Christ-the second that these are “ verily and in
deed taken and received by the faithful in the Lord's supper” —the former believes herself infallible, the latter has authority in all matters of faith and controversy if that believes none can be saved but such as receive certain doctrines, this asserts that those who keep not others whole and undefiled, without doubt shall perish.
27th Article. Pam. 2d Ed. TOL. I. B
-the one considers its bishops as divinely commissioned, the other its Popes and Cardinals—the more ancient Church invokes the saints which her daughter most religiously keeps in remembrance--both hold it their duty to destroy heretics, but it is by restoring them to the bosom of their Church, it is as a Chinese emperor fulfilled his promise of destroying his enemies by making friends of them.
Where now are the horrible features which the zealots of our nation have imprinted on the image of popery? Where is the doctrine which necessarily renders its votaries treacherous and unprincipled?
--Are the very persons who represent the Catholics as thus ferocious and deadly, wasting millions of our treasures and the life-blood of our country in fighting for a base and murderous banditti bound to no laws, and capable of no generous sentiments ? Are we impoverishing ourselves only to conquer for wretches who would consider it as a noble effort of virtue to murder us all in return for our exertions ?
Finally, if these men hold the doctrines imputed to them, we need not tremble at granting emancipation—it is indeed the only security we can have while they exist: for what power can we give them they do not already possess ? It is nothing but a respect for oaths, which we declare they would consider a virtue to violate, that hinders them now from aspiring to the first offices of the state. When these were openly given to them they would, at all events, be as much less dangerous than they are at present, as the highwayman is less to be dreaded than the poisoner. By refusing their claims we are adding fuel to the fire,