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suductions of the innocent, wicked plans framed, and perpetrated in those days, partly in the sanctuary under the eyes of the priests shall be called a religious worship.
OF THE MANNER IN WHICH THE PROVIDENCE OF
GOD SHOWED ME THE ERRORS OF POPERY.
As the heaven is high above the earth, so great is God's mercy towards men; and as far as the east is from the west, so far are his counsels from
One day, it was a charming summer day, a day when an Italian sun sheds its enlivening rays over the city of the world; who could think is illuminated, even the cross on the top has three lights. In addition to this, the reflection of these lights in the spouts of the gigantic fountains, where every drop in the air is like a prism, and represents thousands of rainbows, is above all description.When Joseph II. of Austria visited Rome, the Pope gave an illumination in honor of that august stranger, when he had watched the spouting of the fountains for a short time, he said: “It is enough.” But how much greater was his surprise when he was informed that these were perpetual fountains. And at the first stroke of seven o'clock the Secretary of State asked for a pinch of snuff and in the time the emperor of Austria turned to give his snuff-box, the whole cupola appeared in fire. Joseph was so astonished, that he would not take the snuff-box back, but gave it as a present to the cardinal, Secretary of State.
that this would be the day, upon which I was to be emancipated from the thraldom of superstition and freed from the fetters of moral and religious slavery. Coming, as usual, from the public library of the Sapienza, on my way home I passed the Piazza Novona, one of the public squares of that name, and there encountered the stand of an antiquarian, as one who sold second-handed books. After having examined his stock and found nothing which could be of use for my library, I saw a basket on the ground with very old books, which he offered me for tre Bajocchj, four cents a piece. I searched and searched, and found a small volume in the French language, a translation from the English, entitled: "FATHER CLEMENT." I thought it a life of some saint, and being written in French, I thought it might be of double benefit for edification as well as instruction. I paid my four cents and left the stand. How great was my surprise when in reading Father Clement, I found a discussion between a Jesuit and a Protestant, instead of a life of a saint. All my attention was directed to one point, where is the truth? After having attentively perused the little book, I read again and again the scriptural passages in favor of the arguments. could not then believe that such
passages were in the Bible, and what was still worse, I had no Bible to confront the truth and correctness of the passages. Some of my
readers will think it impossible that a Roman Cathodic priest should be without a Bible; they will attribute it to my own lukewarmness. I can assure them that few, very few priests in Rome and throughout Italy are in the possession of that Holy book, and those who have it keep it like any other classical book only as an ornament in their libraries.'
Having no B.ble to verify the truth of the passages quoted by the Protestant, I went to the public library of the Dominicans, called, “ La Minerva," from the church which was once a temple dedicated to that divinity. But what was my surprise, when on asking Frater Ambrosio for a Polyglot Bible, he asked me if I had the permission from the Mæstro del Sacro Palazzo to read it? I told him with resentment that I never knew of the necessity of such a license; as a theolo
When I studied theology, I heard twice every week the lectures on Disquisitio Biblica, and never saw a. Bible in the hand of the professor, nor in the hand of any of the students. The professor dictated from his papers on the controversy of the creation; about the Adamites and Pre-adamites and all such stuff, which was neither for the head nor for the heart.
gian I thought it an affront to refuse me the Bible. Fra. Ambrosio, who was a very good natured old man, and who knew me from a boy, assured me that his intention was not to insult me, but these were his orders; and that every one, even old priests must have a license to read the Bible. But he stated that he would ask the librarian, and tell him that he knew me, and if the librarian had no objection he would give me the Polyglot Bible. He did so, and the librarian Father Cipulla, at that time also the vice inquisitor, authorized him to give me any book, even those which are in the Index (libror. prohib.) of the forbidden books.
These little difficulties augmented my desire to. read not only the few passages in Father Clement, but the whole Bible. On the same day I searched in all the bookseller stores for a Bible, and bought one, a translation from the vulgate by Martini, Arch-bishop of Florence. It is impossible to describe my feelings, when I found that the passages quoted by the Protestant had been faithfully transcribed from the Bible. New, and almost undefineable ideas occupied my mind. I am so old, and have not known the Bible ? I studied theology, read the fathers, and canons of the different councils, and not the Bible? Why should I have
i special permission to read the word of God? Why have Protestants, [who are considered heretics] free access to the Bible? These, and many other excruciating thoughts tortured my mind. It was a problem, which I could not solve. I felt that there was something wrong; but where, I could not find out. Haunted by these thoughts. I went to my spiritual adviser, and recounted to him every thing. I was sincere, and that too perhaps for the first time since my fifteenth year, when I first opened my whole heart and troubled mind to a confessor. He was astonished that such a trifling thing should trouble me, as it was nothing more than temptations of the devil, to which I yielded. He counseled me: to let the Bible alone, as it was too strong a food for my fervent imagination. Then he asked me: “ had not been in contact with some heretic? If I had given Father Clement to some other person to read? If I had communicated my sentiments to some of my companions? If I had been a long time in the possession of the Bible? After having answered all these questions in the negative, he continued his directions. “ To give no room in my mind to such heretical ideas ; being only Satan, who appears as an angel of