[Image of page 3]
TO HIS EXCELLENCY COL. GORE BROWNE,
It is with some reluctance that I address you on the subject of the correspondence which has recently taken place between you and Bishop Pompallier, respecting the language used in the Report of the Auckland Auxiliary Bible Society, in reference to the efforts of certain agents of the Roman Catholic Church to prevent the free circulation of the Holy Scriptures.
Had the correspondence been circulated only among a small portion of the population, I should have allowed it to pass without public notice; but it is now obtruded upon the whole country by the boldness of the Roman Catholic Bishop, who has caused it to be inserted in all our newspapers, and has even taken the trouble to thrust it forth in a separate pamphlet. Error, were she modest enough, might be allowed to dwell quietly in her own cells; but when she attires herself in scarlet, and struts out before the world, she must be rebuked before all.
The task which devolves upon me would not be entirely painful were it not for the unhappy manner in which our esteemed and obliging Governor is necessarily involved. Under present circumstances, however, I feel myself, as a consistent Protestant, called upon to speak; and, while I do so with all faithfulness to the truth, I wish distinctly to be understood as entertaining the most sincere respect for your Excellency in the high office in which you represent our beloved Queen, --as the Governor-in-Chief of New Zealand.
Your Excellency thought it proper to write an apology to the Bishop of the Church of Rome in Auckland, and to assure him that your Excellency entirely disapproved the use of language such as that referred to in the Report; and that you had no knowledge of the contents of the document until it was read in the meeting; and that after the meeting had closed you took occasion to express your objection to a leading member of the Committee.
I fear the importance of the step which your Excellency has taken in this matter has not been duly considered. It is not
[Image of page 4]
alone the Committee of the Auckland Auxiliary, nor the people of Auckland who assembled in the meeting and voted the adoption of the Report, it is the whole British and Foreign Bible Society for whose language you--the President of this Auxiliary--have thought it right and necessary to offer a most humble apology to a Roman Catholic Bishop.
It is not surprising that such a letter from the Governor of New Zealand should have prompted a most cordial and outspoken reply from the Bishop who received it; but the community would hardly be prepared for so frank a confession of Romish faith as the reply contains; nor would they expect that a document so replete with the Roman genius, and so redolent of reflections upon the national religion of Great Britain, would have been received by the President of the Bible Society and the representative of our Protestant Queen.
A few observations upon certain dogmas contained in this letter may bring the truth more fully before us, and may be useful to some of our fellow colonists, both Protestant and Roman Catholic.
The Bishop claims for himself and his brethren of the same religious fraternity the exclusive right to the titles "Mother Church" and "Holy Catholic Church."
But the Church of Rome is not indeed "The Mother Church." The Churches of Jerusalem and Antioch, with many others, were before her. From her we did not receive our Apostles, the Holy Scriptures, nor the moral discipline of the Christian religion.
She is not "The Catholic Church." A very large proportion of Christendom cannot be included within her pale; the Greek Church, the Arminian Churches, the Churches of Syria, of Africa, and of the East in general, together with the Churches of England and Scotland, the Waldensian and Albigensian Churches, and all the evangelical Churches which have arisen since the Reformation, never having been included in her dominion; but, on the contrary, having ever been regarded and treated by her as heretical and beyond the reach of salvation. She who excludes so much of Christian truth and holiness, and so great a multitude of God's faithful people as all these contain, whatever else she may be, cannot be the "Catholic Church."
She is not "The Holy Church," as though there were no other Churches equally holy. But, on the contrary, she has corrupted the holy faith by mixing it with human inventions, -- covering the Holy Scriptures with tomes of mass-books, bulls of
[Image of page 5]
popes, decretals, and canons. She has by her auricular confessions, penances, priestly absolutions, and indulgences, put forth her energies to nulify the purifying power of the Gospel of God, and to erect a system altogether antagonistic to the revealed religion contained in the Holy Scriptures.
The "Holy Catholic Church" is not the Roman Catholic Church, but the whole body of God's people that is, ever has been, or ever shall be, from the beginning of the world to its consummation, who having believed in Christ, and sincerely obeyed God's holy laws, shall finally, by the meretorious performances and sufferings of Christ, be saved.
She has even laid sacrilegious hands upon the holy Commandments of God given at Sinai, and torn out the second Commandment from the first table, in order to make room for her multifarious forms of image and saint worship which she has borrowed from ancient heathenism; and then she has divided the ninth Commandment into two, in order to cover the omission and make up the number ten; and can she be the Holy Church?
The truth of this charge will appear from the Commandments as they are given below, in parallel columns, --the Commandments of God and the Commandments of Rome:--
The Commandments of God, as found in the Bible: Exodus xx., 1-17.
And God spake all these words, saying,
I am the Lord thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.
I. Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
II. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; and shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.
III. Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltiless that taketh his name in vain.
The Commandments of Rome, as found in the Catechism or Abridgment of Christian Doctrine, by the Most Reverend Dr. Reilly, Dublin, 1840.
Q. How many commandments hath God given us! Ten.
Q. Say them?
I. I am the Lord thy God, thou shalt have none other God but me,
II. Thou shalt not take the name of God in vain.
III. Remember thou keep holy the Sabbath day.
IV. Honour thy father and mother.
V. Thou shalt not kill.
[Image of page 6]
IV. Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day, and hallowed it.
V. Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God. giveth thee.
VI. Thou shalt not kill.
VII. Thou shalt not commit adultery,
VIII. Thou shalt not steal.
IX. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.
X. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour's.
VI. Thou shalt not commit adultery,
VII. Thou shalt not steal.
VIII. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.
IX. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife.
X. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's goods,
N. B. --There is another edition of the Romish Commandments given by the Most Reverend Dr. Butler; revised, corrected, and enlarged by the Right Reverend James Doyle, D.D., Dublin, 1852; and another edition was printed in this Town of Auckland in 1858; both which differ from each other and from the one given above, but in all the second commandment is omitted.
There are several passages in this characteristic letter which are not calculated to convey distinct ideas to the plain British mind not initiated by French or Italian priests into the clouds of cloistered lore which envelope the monastic minds of the ultramontane regions. The following passage especially requires to be explained:
The flambeau of the living Bible, namely the Word of God, either written or not, but always united with the divine testimonies and the living authority of the Church.
What is meant by "the living Bible" and "the Word of God not written?" Are we to understand that a priest when he speaks and acts at the altar is a living Bible? And is his word spoken there the word of God? Are the decrees and canons of councils, the bulls and encyclical letters of popes to be taken as parts of the written Bible of Rome? and is whatever a priest may say officially part of this same mystical Book called the written and unwritten Bible? Upon this obscure subject we may probably obtain some light by the aid of an extract or two from a volume written by the same hand, --the very work in fact which your Excellency has been induced to accept as a present responsive to the cordial letter which the Right Rev.
[Image of page 7]
author had received from your hand; the book is entitled "The Catechetical Notion and History of the Word of God, and clear exposition of the Rules of Christian Faith, by Right Reverend Dr. Pompallier, &c., &c." It is designed to instruct the "youth in the schools" in the rudiments of the Romish faith; and is no doubt sent, as occasion may require, to nurse up the hopeful by the gentle administration of small quantities of the pure milk of good catholic doctrine. Let us try it:
Q. Then the divine authority and the Holy Ghost does not dwell in the Bible?
A. No indeed; the Holy Ghost and His authority for teaching cannot dwell in the paper; the Holy Bible has no life; it is not a living teacher; it cannot speak, it cannot hear; it is only a sign of the oral Word of God; it is a great lamp with its flame on the wick, when it remains in the hands of the Church, who gives the true meaning of it in its difficult passages. But out of the Church, and without her divine ministry of testimonies, instructions, and explanations, the Holy Bible would remain, in very many passages, like a lamp deprived of the flame on its wick, and leave souls in darkness, ignorance, and error.
The Bible itself is something deaf, it cannot hear, it is dumb and cannot answer: finally, the Holy Bible is a depository of paper for the Word of God; but the teacher is in action the sower of the Word of God; he is living; he can speak; he can hear; he can give an answer, and make himself be understood With his teaching. 1
Here we have, indeed, a plain exposition of the passage quoted from the Bishop's letter, and at the same time we have a dogmatic statement which, had it come from the pen of an avowed infidel would have been at once set down as amounting to a profane rejection of the revealed Word of God; as indeed we have in the letter itself a statement which amounts to the same, --"To believe the Bible is useful, but to believe the Church is necessary to salvation."
Bishop Pompallier informs us that "The Bible Society is not canonical." Perhaps not; but the following declaration, to which the Bishop gave his hand and oath before he came to New Zealand, is canonical:--
Moreover all other things delivered, defined, and declared by the sacred Canons and Ecumenical Councils, and especially by the Holy Synod of Trent, I undoubtedly receive and profess; and also all things contrary thereunto, and all heresies whatsoever, condemned and rejected and anathematized by the Church, I in like manner do condemn, reject, and anathematize. This is the true Catholic Faith, out of which there can be no salvation. 2
The Roman Catholic Church is not, if we may judge from its own laws and history, so very loyal and respectful to lawful and local superiors as the Bishop would lead us to believe. She maintains the right to compel heretics to submit to the
[Image of page 8]
authority of the Pope. She sets the spiritual power above the temporal, comparing the former to the sun and the latter to the moon; and even claims the power of releasing subjects from their lawful Governors, of deposing heretical Sovereigns, and placing Roman Catholic Sovereigns in their place. The Pope is regarded as everywhere supreme, "The Vicar of Christ," "The King of Kings." The following language, taken from the 10th verse of the 1st chapter of Jeremiah, is applied, by the Romish authorities, to the power of the Pope, --"See, I have set thee over the Nations and over the Kingdoms, to root out, and to pull down, and to destroy and to throw down, to build and to plant." And Cardinal Bellarmine, a high authority in their colleges, says, that "If the Pope should command vices and forbid virtues, the vices must be practised and the virtues avoided;" so supremely absolute over all authority and law, both human and divine, does outspoken popery claim to be. Indeed the loyalty of a Roman Catholic priest is always subservient to his obedience to Rome.
Your Excellency will please to observe that the Bishop has used language which must be regarded as highly disrespectful when addressed to yourself as a distinguished member of the leading Protestant Church in Christendom, and the representative of a Protestant Queen, not to say the President of the Bible Society. He calls your Excellency's attention to "the antilogical vices of the Protestant system," and declares that the "vice of the Protestant system if applied to society itself is indeed as palpable as terrific." If this be true, your Excellency is a member of the Church which for hundreds of years has stood foremost in the defence and maintenance of a system whose vices are "terrific." But, leaving the language for the present, let the facts of the case be weighed, and we shall soon see where it is that the chief vices that afflict society most abound, whether under the influence of Protestanism or in the countries in which Popery has for ages borne exclusive sway. I submit the following evidence bearing upon two of the most "palpable and terrific" vices of modern Europe, --bastardy and murder:--
The proportion of illegitimate children born in London, in the year 1851, was only four per cent of the whole number born; in Munich, the proportion was forty-eight per cent.; in Paris, in 1850, it was 33 per cent, or one-third; in Vienna, in 1848, it was nearly one-half; whilst at Rome itself, teeming with monks and friars, out of 4,373 births in a year, 3,160 of the children were foundlings: that is 73 per cent., or nearly three-
[Image of page 9]
fourths of the entire number of children born, were without lawful parents.
Then take the proportion of murders committed in Protestant and Romish countries:--
In England, the proportion, taking an average of ten years, is four murders for every million of the population; in France, thirty-one; in Austria, thirty-six; in Bavaria, thirty-eight; in Sicily, ninety; in Naples, one hundred and seventy-four; and in the Papal States, one hundred and thirteen!! 3
And to come nearer home, while we have no statistics of illegitimate births in New Zealand, we are enabled to state, on the best authority, that the total number of prisoners committed to the Auckland Gaol during the year 1858 was 627, of whom no less than 330, or more than one-half, were Roman Catholics.
And yet Bishop Pompallier, a Priest of the Roman Catholic Church, does not blush to tell your Excellency of the palpable and terrific vices of Protestanism when the system is applied to society! Surely he must mean the palpable and terrific vices of Popery! What indeed but immorality and vice can be expected where a community of bachelors, having no sympathies in common with family life, are in charge of nunneries, and can demand under the heavy sanctions of future punishment a disclosure at the confessional of the very thoughts and intents of the heart? I have a few Roman Catholic books in my possession, and from a volume given me by one who became a convert to Protestanism, I quote the following direction to penitents at the confessional:--The Sixth Commandment, "Thou shall not commit adultery. 'Under this head all sins against purity must be carefully examined, as well as whatever leads to their indulgence or committal.'" Then follows a note:--
N. B. --As the sins against this and the Ninth Commandment are most grievous, and at the same time, most various, the prudent counsel of your director will assist you, if necessary, in a more particular examination. -- Garden of the Soul, Page 177, Published A. D. 1843.
The demoralising influence of the confessional upon the priest himself must be very great, and no wonder that where priests abound the vices which enfeeble and lower the happiness of domestic life abound also.
No man better understood the elements of social weakness than Napoleon Buonaparte, who, when about to invade the
[Image of page 10]
Peninsula, was discouraged by his General from taking such a step, replied: "Believe me General, that countries where monks abound are not difficult to conquer."
The following words are worthy of some remark:--
In the present circumstances of the religious division of Christians, the Holy Mother Church says: "Let them grow up to the harvest, &c."
So says this prudent Bishop. Let us however collate the views of the Church of Rome on this subject, and see what is the analogy of their faith:--
Maldonatus, an authority in Roman Catholic Colleges, says: "They who deny that heretics ought to be put to death, ought much rather to deny that thieves and murderers ought to be put to death, for heretics are so much the more pernicious than thieves and murderers, as it is a greater crime to slay the souls of men than their bodies."
In the Rhemish Testament, published at the College of Rheims, we find the following note on the text above referred to by the Bishop:--
Matthew 13, 29, --But he said "Nay, lest while ye gather up the tares ye root up the wheat with them."
The good must tolerate the evil, when it is so strong that it cannot be redressed without danger and disturbance of the whole Church, and commit the matter to God's judgment in the latter day; otherwise where ill men (be they heretics or other malefactors) may be punished or suppressed, without disturbance and hazarding of the good, they may and ought by public authority, either spiritual or temporal, to be chastised or executed."
The reason is here plainly stated why Protestants are not at all times to be extirpated--because it cannot be done "without danger and disturbance of the whole Church."
Again they remark upon Revelations 17, 16, --"Drunk with the blood of the saints." The Protestants foolishly expound (this) of Rome, for they put heretics to death, and allow of their punishment; but their blood is not called the blood of saints, no more than the blood of thieves, mankillers, and other malefactors; for the shedding of which, by order of justice, no commonwealth shall answer..
We might go on to multiply quotations from canons of councils, and bulls of popes, showing that the Bishop is not a full exponent of the doctrines of his own church, but that he must be understood as restricted by the canonical doctrine of expediency when he writes. "In the present circumstances, the Holy Mother Church and her rulers of wisdom imitate the prudence of her heavenly spouse, the master of the evangelical field saying: 'Let both grow till the harvest.'"
Cardinal Bellarmine has a chapter entitled "That Heretics can be condemned by the Church to temporal punishments and even to death;" and he declares that as heretics despise excommunication, and if sent into exile they only corrupt their
[Image of page 11]
neighbours by their language, and those at a distance by their books, "the only remedy is to send them speedily to their own place." In closing, he adds: "Finally it is an act of kindness to obstinate heretics to take them out of this life; for the longer they live the more errors they invent, the more men do they pervert, and the greater damnation do they acquire to themselves."
I believe that the true and infallible doctrine of Rome, on the subject of persecution, is expressed in the language of one of the standard classbooks used in the R. C. College of Maynooth, but which at present I can only quote from memory: "When heretics are weak deliver them to the executioner, when strong leave them to God."
Bishop Pompallier makes a show of logic, and simulates a respect for reason; but the real logic of the Romish Church is vested in the power of curses, denunciations, and interdicts. The grand charter of Romanism is to be found in the decrees of the Council of Trent, and these are proved, not by any use of logic or by authority of Scriptures, but by curses, no less than 125 of which are appended to the canons, in order to frighten and compel the faith of the superstitious in the analogical and arbitrary dogmas of Popery.
The venerable Church to which your Excellency belongs, together with the entire Protestant community, are again and again treated by your Excellency's Right Reverend correspondent with the most supercilious contumely. He reflects upon them as "obstinate in blindness," as "fanatical," as "scarcely able to find any chair of wisdom among their religious societies;" and then puts them in the same category as the ancient Jews when they "rejected the Saviour as a man led by a demon, and were struck by the hand of the living God, into whose hands it is horrid to fall." Had your Excellency's correspondent charged home these reflections upon yourself individually, I cannot think that the letter could, in common courtesy, have been received; but surely when yourself and all other Protestants are thus spoken of together, the insult is not made the less, but the greater. But there is a more awful offence committed in the same paragraph--an offence against the Saviour himself--for the Pontiff in his chair at Rome is compared to the "Adorable Saviour of men," and we are warned lest for regarding the Pope as "Antichrist," we be visited with judgments from God such as came upon the Jews for rejecting the Messiah.
[Image of page 12]
The Bishop's assertion that "the Protestant societies are scarcely able to find a chair of wisdom, &c.," if it did not remind us of the virulent and too successful opposition of his own Church everywhere for hundreds of years to the progress of general literature and philosophy, would be simply ridiculous. His own "chair of wisdom" must indeed be a little one. When for only once in an age a man of letters, the viceregent of a British sovereign, happens to stand before it, the most appropriate volume that can be found for him is a paltry "milk for babes," whose logic the very school-girls of the Auckland Sabbath-schools would ridicule, while its profane travesty of divine truths would make them shudder. Not now to dwell upon the notorious fact that Catholics are not allowed to read both sides of the Romish controversy, --we may assert that the Church of Rome has enacted more laws against free intellectual advancement in the cultivation of science and literature, and every form of wisdom, than have been put forth by all the civilized world besides.
The following extracts are taken from the ten rules concerning prohibited books which were approved by the Council of Trent, and republished at Paris A.D. 1832.
1. All books condemned by the Supreme Pontiffs or general councils before the year 1515, and not comprised in this index, are to be nevertheless considered as condemned.
2. The books of heresiarchs, or of the heads or leaders of heretics, as Luther, Zuingle, Calvin, Balthasar, Pacimontanus, Swenchfeld, and other similar ones, are all forbidden, whatever may be their names, titles, or subjects..
5. Books of which heretics are the editors, but which contain little or nothing of their own, being mere compilations from others, as lexicons, concordances, apothegms, similies, indices, and others of a similar kind, may be allowed by the Bishops and inquisitors, after having made, with the advice of Catholic divines, such corrections and emendations as may be deemed requisite.
6. Books of controversy betwixt the Catholics and heretics of the present time, written in the vulgar tongue, are not to be indiscriminately allowed, but are to be subject to the same regulations, as Bibles in the vulgar tongue.
8. Books, the principal subject of which is good, but in which some things are occasionally introduced tending to heresy and impiety. 4
These rules have been put in force in thousands of instances.
The treatment of the great astronomer and philosopher Galileo, of Florence, in the 70th year of his age, who was compelled under threat of death, to swear that he did not believe his own theory, has been followed in many similar instances down to modern times. 5
[Image of page 13]
In closing his letter the Bishop says that "The Holy Mother the Catholic Church who is always a majority, &c." Whatever may be the comparative numerical strength of the Romish Church in other countries, she is by no means in a position in England to warrant her high assumptions, as the following particulars will demonstrate:
There is a small congregation worshipping in Auckland, for many years known as "Mr. Ward's," and belonging to the Primitive Methodists, a denomination formed by ten seceders from the original Wesleyan Church at Stanley in Staffordshire, in the year 1810. According to the census of 1851, this humble denomination had increased to 104,762 members, and 229,616 attendants at public worship, with 2,871 chapels, containing sittings for 369,216.
The Roman Catholics of England and Wales, in the same year, 1851, had only 570 chapels, with 73,232 attendants, and 164,664 sittings.
From a Roman Catholic work, entitled "Catholic Statistics," we learn that the number of chapels in England and Wales, in 1853, was 616, and the number of priests was 875.
In the same year the Primitive Methodists reported 1,789 chapels, 10,162 preachers, of whom 568 were separated to the work of the ministry and supported by the contributions of the people. It is therefore evident that the Roman Catholic Church, with all its pretensions and patronage, cannot, in the leading nation of the earth, compete with one of the most modest offshoots of the youngest branch of non-conforming Protestantism. 6
Popery is behind the age. It is effete, stale. The genius of its dignitaries is essentially antichristian. It is an ultramontane shade. It is Spanish, it is Italian, it is not Saxon. It is the ghost of an age long since departed, --the dark age. It brought the Spanish Armada to England. It forced the Pope upon the Italians at the mouth of the French cannon. It drove the innocent Pomare from the throne of Tahiti, and left her people desolate, as the children of a banished mother. It compelled the newly converted people of Josiah in Habai, to build houses for the priests, when they would as soon have eaten their own fingers. It shuns the haunts of strong men, or disguises itself as an Angel of Light, or stands in an English gown to
[Image of page 14]
preach a Romish sermon in a Protestant pulpit. It is honest, only where men are children, passive, pusillanimous, weak. It prowls in the outskirts of Society. It fascinates melancholy women, and deludes with a vain hope of pardon without conversion--the most abandoned characters. It pursues the newly converted savage, and lures him with its showy ritual and baptised gewgaws back half way to paganism; it overaws him, and then diverts his adoration from Christ to a priest. It is a marauding parasite. It cannot face the Isle of Pines or New Caledonia, it could not venture to New Zealand till the Protestant missionaries had taught the savages not to eat them. It can go to Fiji, and Tonga, and anywhere where the Gospel has gone before proclaiming "peace upon earth, and good will towards men."
It is a spirit beneath the standard of the Roman Catholic flock. They are more frank and sensible and manly than their pastors. It resembles the priest of Buddhism who a thousand years ago mused himself into a reverie, and has been lost in a mesmeric sleep ever since. They look upon its priestly incarnation as a being venerable for antiquity, as antiquarians would upon the hermitical inscriptions of Trismegist, or an antediluvian mummy. It is ancient, but not apostolical, for the succession is broken and the spirit departed. It is showy, but without authority, and worthless. If a similar genius were to rule in trade and science, literature and arms, we should become as stoled as the Brahmins. Suppose a succession of generals and officers in a straight line from Alexander, Cyrus, and Nimrod; --a successions of lawyers straight from Lycurgus; -- a line of doctors direct from Galen or Esculapius; --and a line of shoemakers and tailors who could boast of no higher claim on patronage than that they had succeeded a man who had made shoes or clothes in bye-gone ages! --There is an Apostolic succession, but it involves a succession of doctrine and ethics, of Apostolical truth and holiness, it is not a thing of name and ceremony. If an Apostle or an Angel were to preach other than Apostolical doctrine, we are to reject him. He is not our rule of faith. "To the law and the testimony."
But though we or an angel from heaven preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached, let him be accursed. --Gal. 1, 8.
Priests and priestesses, monks and nuns, auricular confessions, and priestly absolution, indulgences, relics and purgatory, together with absolute submission to a sacerdotal dictum, belong not to the mother church, but are indigenous to Greece, Egypt,
[Image of page 15]
and China, in their paganism, and to Rome, both pagan and popish
Genuine Christianity is useful. It gives peace to the mind and joy to the heart. It leads man to God. It emancipates our souls from sin and superstition; and promotes freedom of thought and true manliness of character. It makes men holy, families happy, nations great. It is the mistress of learning and science and trade, of wise legislation, and universal peace and brotherhood. It gives us "One God and one Mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus." It fixes our raised souls not on an ordained sinner, an immaculate conception, a holy coat, a saint or an angel, --but on the Son of God "manifest in the flesh." It opens to all "a new and living way into the holiest by the blood of Christ."
The self-abnegation of men made in the image of God, the prostration of mind, conscience, and will, at the knee of a priestly bachelor calling himself the successor of St. Peter and the Vicar Apostolic--is another kind of Gospel. These are things which cannot now mould society and govern mankind. Empty and high-sounding titles, showy habiliments, and pompous ecclesiastical claims, should not awe, but warn us of the moral leprosy which lurks within; just as when we see a female painted with vermilion, attired in obtrusive frippery, and flaunting loftily, we conclude she is not a genuine lady or a modest wife. So will all thoughtful Catholics refuse to acknowledge the Bride of Christ in sisterhoods of nuns and societies of monastic brothers.
In conclusion, I wish earnestly to disclaim all unkind feeling towards any Roman Catholics personally. It has been my happiness to know some and to read the writings of others who have been enabled by divine grace to escape the dangers of their course, and fixing their faith upon the Saviour of mankind, have believed to the saving of their souls. But while one has escaped the evils around him, multitudes have passed through life alternating between sin and the confessional, and have gone down to the grave as ignorant of revealed truth as were the heathens of New Zealand before the Missionaries came. And so some Roman Catholics, particularly those brought up in Protestant countries, are intelligent men, yet the mass of the people in Italy, Spain, Portugal, Belgium and Ireland, it is well known are in a state of ignorance little better than that of uncivilized life.
Would that the more intelligent and nobleminded of the Catholic laity in Auckland would so far throw off their spiritual
[Image of page 16]
chains as to read and enquire, think and pray. Would that they could be induced to prove all things for themselves, and to hold fast that which is good. What a sphere of holy usefulness would then open before them in the evangelization of their less enlightened brethern! Let the Priest denounce and prohibit at the altar. He is neither the Saviour nor the Judge of Souls-- "So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God." No indulgence, pennance, absolution, or purgatory can satisfy His offended justice. "There is no other name given under heaven among men whereby we must be saved." We must all go by faith and prayer to Christ alone, and he will in no wise cast out those who come to him, for "he is able to save unto the uttermost all them that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them." The language of every Christian heart towards our Roman Catholic fellow men, is:--
Come, O my guilty brethren come,
Groaning beneath your load of sin,
His bleeding heart shall make you room,
His bleeding side shall take you in;
He calls you now, invites you home,
Come, O my guilty brethren, come.
I have the honor to be, Sir,
Your obedient servant,