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It is by plausible pretensions, such as these, that many ingenuous minds are first drawn to the Church of Rome; and it is not till after they have joined it, and when in the great majority of cases they cannot retrace their steps, that they discover their mistake. They find, when it is too late, that Rome does not lift up the slaves to the level of free men, but degrades free men to the level of slaves; and Rome only attains its unity of dogma by forbidding all questioning and extinguishing all thought:
“ But what I saw required a constituted POWER as well as a commission—a human head with a divine authority: and such an authority -an authority which could make doubt anathema-to be just or valid, must be infallible. I wanted supernatural attributes embodied visibly. I started with wholly mistaken notions of the Church of Jesus Christ on earth. I was more than half a Romanist before I ever dreamed of Rome; and, when at last I so avowed myself to myself, it was upon no examination of such dogmas as transubstantiation, the merit of good works, or the like: it was in submission to a polity which I believed to be divinely established upon earth and to stand on the same level as the highest dogma. I became a Roman Catholic wholly and solely on the ground of there being amongst men a living, infallible, interpreter of the mind of God, with divine jurisdiction and with authority to enforce submission to it ” (5).
As in the law, he who offends in one point is guilty of all, so in the doctrine of infallibility it must be admitted in the least matters as well as in the greatest, for it would be violated by mistake anywhere, in the most trivial or in the most momentous things. And where a man accepts this doctrine of infallibility he must receive implicitly, and without the least question, or the slightest hesitation, everything that comes from such a source : every single injunction is of the same paramount importance as coming from an “infallible interpreter of the mind of God;" to question would be doubting God—to hesitate, rebellion against Him :
“ From the moment that I accepted infallibility and a visible supreme head-ship over Christendom, I frankly and deliberately gave up my reason; or at least, in all matters of faith and discipline, solemnly proposed to renounce it......... I believed myself to be the most thorough of Roman Catholics-a very fakir in my allegiance; and my ecclesiastical superiors believed me to be so too.
“ How often the strange unreality of this deep conviction must have occurred to you, dear Lord Shrewsbury, since our sad parting! Like the infallibility on which it was founded, it was a delusion. I never was wholly a subject of the mysterious Church of Rome, no more than tens of thousands of others who live and die in her.
“I had put my natural affections under ban-I had renounced the senses_I had renounced much of my private reason. But I had never let go my conscience. No man can be truly a Romanist who is not so unlimitedly and without reserve. Conscience and the creed of Pius V. are contraries—contradictories. To make a consistent, congruous Romanist, there must be unreasoning submission in morals as in faith. • The Church (says Bellarmine) is inviolably bound to believe that to be morally good which the sovereign pontiff commands, and that morally bad which he forbids
(6). It was the still retaining a conscience that kept Mr. Connelly from becoming a thorough Romanist; and it was this that at length delivered him from the delusion by which he was for some years held. He could not renounce his conscience: it proved the candle of the Lord to detect the Papal iniquity. It was a token for good that God had not forsaken him; and by his grace he had strength to break the Roman fetters at whatever sacrifice, and to bear the reproaches which he could not but expect from again changing his creed :
“ To the last, it was not from sacrifices nor sufferings that I drew back—I drew back from nothing, even in my most secret thoughts, till I was required to be a conscious partaker in undoubted sin (7). Supposed infallibility led me into the communion of exclusive Rome, and no dogma taught by her would ever have made me doubt that infallibility. It is her moral theology, her prescribed working as a practical system, that has made the falseness of her pretension to infallibility as clear to me as any one of Euclid's demonstrations” (15).
Thus, different are the constitutions of men -some are repelled by the absurd doctrines of Rome, such as transubstantiation, indulgences, or purgatory: others shrink from its idolatry of the Virgin Mary, or saints and their relics : and not a few are disgusted with the pretended miracles, resting on tricks of legerdemain too clumsy for the spectators of a modern conjuror or mountebank's feats. And here we see one who could have tolerated all these things, but finds in Rome an immorality subversive of all public, or private, or domestic obligations; and flies from it as from a pestilence :
“ After fifteen years of study, travel, and sad experience, it is no longer an inquiry how to raise a negro to a level with the white man, but has to rescue the white man from the condition of a slave ..... It is the soul that makes the man, and its religion is a nation's soul. Cunning, mistrust, and civil impotency, treachery, cruelty, and sensuality, follow the Roman superstition when established just as they follow hereditary corporal slavery.
“It is hardly possible to make up the sum of gratitude that is due to those that, under God, set England free. Wbatever may be said of unwise, cruel, wicked measures, the policy of the English Reformation was not cruel, nor wicked, nor unwise. It was simply honest. It
was made in earnest, and saved the Anglo-Saxon race, and put the only effectual drag on tyranny. Were it not for the Protestant monarchy of England, Christendom of to-day would be the Christendom of the middle ages: burning heretics would be a holyday amusement for every city populace, and ostentatious concubinage would be in Europe, as it is in Mexico and parts of South America, a grateful and respected promise of moderation in the clergy” (23).
Mr. Connelly's is a personal narrative throughout. He had access to the highest sources of information both at Rome and at Vienna, and he states facts of which he is cognizant and most of which came under his own observation. He declares that the Jesuits are now all powerful at Rome and are guiding the Papacy at their will; consequently, their power in all the other States of Europe is just in proportion to the influence of the Papacy in those several States. It is omnipotent at Vienna, and, just at present, in France also. And it has too much power even in England through the time-serving policy of our leaders in truckling to Irish priests for some supposed political advantage.
“All the world does not know how long and with what satanic instinct the Papal Church has been preparing for the present development of the democratic element in Europe; nor with what consummate tact she counted on its incapacity for self-organization and cruelly turned it to her own account. All the world does not know that La Mennais, like Ventura, was once the honoured of the Vatican ; that the cry of universal suffrage was got up in France by the clergy in 1835; that already in 1837 so wise a statesman as Prince Metternich (who at that time did me the honour to invite me to enter the Austrian diplomacy) seemed as well persuaded as the General of the Jesuits (who hated him cordially) that Rome was likely under democracy to be as powerful as when, under despotism, Aquaviva had dictated his individual will to Europe, and taken equal vengeance on popes, kings, or communities, that were refractory.
All the world does not know how the Pope's chief adviser in the affairs of this United Kingdom, to whom, in fact, the Cardinal Secretary of State referred them when he referred him to the Propaganda-all the world does not know how he openly anticipated with prophetic joy, in March 1848, what has been slowly brought about in December 185); nor how he blessed God fervently that there was good hope · England would at last be crushed by the union of Ireland with the unemployed standing army of France.
All the world does not know these things, but I know them and I know much more.
“ I know this same Church of Rome, in its petty schemes of anarchy in families, more hateful and more devilish than when it deals with nations. I have seen clerical inviolability made to mean nothing less than license and impurity. I have read to the pure and simpleminded Cardinal Prefect of the Propaganda a narrative, written to a pious lay friend by a respected Roman priest, of such enormities of lust in his fellow priests around him that the reading of them took away my breath to be answered, · Caro mio, I know it, and know it all, and more and worse than all; but nothing can be done. I have been mocked by dean and bishop for denouncing a young priest in whose bedroom-and before there had been time to dress himself-in broad day, in England, under a convent roof, I had myself found a young nun apparently as much at home as her confessor was himself.
This is a part of what has come within my own experience. But yet it is not the worst of that sad experience. I have seen priests of mean abilities, of coarse natures, and gross breeding, practice upon pure and highly-gifted women of the upper ranks.
I have seen these priests impose their pretendedly divine authority, and sustain it by mock miracles, for ends that were simply devilish. I have had poured into my ears what can never be uttered, and what ought not to be believed, but was only too plainly true. And I have seen that all that is most deplorable is not an accident but a result, and an inevitable result, and a confessedly inevitable result, of the working of the practical system of the Church of Rome, with all its stupendous machinery of mischief” (21).
Rome is now under the power of the Jesuits, and the fundamental principle of that society and the source of all its power is this—that they destroy individual responsibility by asserting that no man can trust himself, but should place himself in the hands of his confessor, regarding that man as standing towards him in the relationship of God himself. Thus, not only is responsibility destroyed, but the confessor is put into so false a position that, human frailty cannot but abuse the power in one way or other. And the Jesuit code of morality is at once the demonstration of the evil, and the proof that such diabolical wickedness is the inevitable result of quenching the light of conscience or individual responsibility.
“And the system is irrevocable and irremediable. It must be what it is, or it must cease to be. If there is ever to be either political or social regeneration for Europe—if the Continent is ever to be anything better than a halfway Hades—my solemn conviction is it must be by the annihilation of the old ecclesiastical system of the Papacy” (22).
Mr. Connelly draws a distinction between the system and the men who are involved in it, or even take part in upholding it. Many of these are saved by their better feelings from being carried to the lengths of wickedness towards which the system invariably tends.
But then he says they are not real thorough-going Papists :
“Nay more, I should belie my conscience if I professed to think that the mass of Englishmen who think themselves Roman Catholics really are so. I profoundly doubt if, out of the ranks of the recent converts to Romanism, there can be found a dozen Englishmen of thirty years of age who are really Roman Catholics, who are ready to act on their principles, when they maintain the spiritual supremacy of the Pope, and his infallibility as the mouthpiece of the Almighty in faith and morals” (34).
) We ought not to conclude without saying that, although Mr. Connelly has not adverted to the religious part of the Papal system, but to its social and political enormities, it is not from insensibility to the pestiforous nature of its doctrines or from clinging to any one of its falsehoods; but that he still remembers the awful regard with which he approached these mysterious subjects during his great delusion, and that he still respects the sincerity of such faith in others, now that the spell is broken in his own case and the visionary basis is gone. And he concludes in rendering thanks to God who has delivered him by his grace, and still kept his faith in the great truths of the Gospel unshaken. For with too many, alas ! it happens that, in becoming emancipated from the thraldom of superstition, they cast off
' faith altogether, and so, in ceasing to be Romanists, they become thorough infidels.
An Address to the Working Classes on the Means of Improving their
Condition. By the Rev. JAMES BEATTIE. Edinburgh : Paton
and Ritchie. This little work is written in an unaffected simplicity of heart and sincerity of purpose that cannot fail to effect much good among those for whose benefit it is designed. The tone is plain, frank, and honest, and the diction forcible and earnest. The author, after a brief preface, sets out by denouncing that deadliest foe to English industry-intemperance—that king of terrors who exacts from his poverty-stricken slaves in this country alone a tax of seventy millions annually, wrung from the hard earnings and bitter sweat of the working man, whose wretched family craves in vain the bare sustenance of life, of which they are daily robbed by his infatuated passion for the liquid poison which preys upon his vitals and hastens him to a premature grave.
This portion of the rev. gentleman's address is written with an immense power and convincing eloquence, yet in such homely phrase as to suit the most average intellect. After some seasonable remarks
improvidence, imprudent marriages, and some wholesome advice upon general subjects, the author concludes by warning his readers against allying themselves with those pestilent parties that are ever striving to sap the loyalty of the working classes ; and who, having nothing themselves to lose, are careless as to