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nineteenth, the sinner is directed to say,
"O wheat of the elect, have mercy on us !"
I think we have found, with reference to the Catholic religion, what Archimedes could not find when he wanted to move the world. He said he could move it, provided he could have a place to stand on, from which he could with his lever act upon the world. But as no such place could be found for him, the world was not moved. I think, however, that I have discovered a spot from which we can not only move, but utterly subvert the Roman Catholic religion. We pass over her absurdity and her intolerance, and plant ourselves on her idolatry. Here we will stand, and from this place we will carry on our operations against her. If the Roman Catholic church is idolatrous, can she stand ? Must she not fall? What! a church that is plainly idolatrous maintain ground as the church of Christ! It is impossible. It is but for the eyes of mankind to be opened to see her idolatry, and her reign is over. The common sense of the world cannot long brook prayers and hymns to creatures, and supplications for mercy to that of which bread is made. I would not have it persecuted; I would not have one of its adherents harmed in the slightest degree; but there are some things which the enlightened intellect of man cannot tolerate; and this is the chief of those things which are intolerable to reason. It must go off the stage, even though infidelity should come on and occupy it. The religion that is not of the Bible, and that scoffs at reason, must come to an end. I have no fears of its rising to any higher ascendancy than that it now occupies. My hope is in God; but if it were not, it would be in man.
24. Image Worship.
If there be any truth in phrenology, I judge that Catholics must have the organ of veneration very largely developed. There are no people, unless it be some Pagans, who are so inclined to worship. They worship almost every thing that comes in their way, with scarcely any discrimination. The value of wor. ship with them seems to depend on the variety of objects worshiped. What a pity it is they cannot confine their worship within narrower bounds! What a pity they are not satisfied with one object of religious veneration-the great and glorious God ! But no. Be. sides him, they must have a host of creatures, angels, saints, and what not, as objects of adoration. Nor are they satisfied with these beings themselves. They must have visible representations of them to bow down unto, and worship. They want something to worship which they can see. In the profession of faith which I find in the little book published in Baltimore under the sanction of the archbishop, from which I have quoted so freely already, and to which I love to appeal, seeing it is published so near home, and there can be no dispute about its authority, I find this paragraph among others : “I most firmly assert, that the images of Christ, of the mother of God, ever Virgin, and also of the saints, ought to be had and retained, and that due honor and veneration is to be given them.” This doctrine sounds a little different from that promulged from Sinai, and written with the tinger of God on the tables of stone. They look to be at variance, to say the least; and I think I shall be able to show presently that they have that aspect to Catholics as well as Protestants. The voice that shook the earth, after saying, “ Thou shalt have no other gods before me,” said, « Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above,” &c. Now Christ, thevirgin, and the saints are in heaven above, unless any choose to surmise that some of those reckoned saints are elsewhere. Consequently no likeness of them may be made. The law proceeds: “ Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them.” But do not Catholics bow down or kneel before likenesses of the saints and others? I ask the question. I know they used to do so, and I suppose I may infer that they do so now, since it is their grand boast that their religion is every where and always the same. The doctrine delivered from Sinai is the old notion on the subject, and it would seem to be against every kind and degree of image worship. But, says the modern “guide to heaven," what the authoritative Council of Trent had said many years before, “the images of Christ, of the mother of God, and also of the saints, ought to be had and retained, and due honor and veneration given them.” Here are Baltimore and Trent against Sinai ; or, in other words, the archtishop and council on one side, and he who came down on the mountain which burned with fire on the other. My hearers must range themselves on either side, as they see fit.
But cannot the two things be reconciled somehow ? Can they not be so explained as to remove all appearance of inconsistency ? Perhaps they can, if one of them be explained away, that is, be made so clear
that you can't see it any longer. This is a new way some have of reconciling things; but I, as an individual, do not think much of it. I like the old way of laying things alongside of each other, and then shedding as much light as possible on both. If this is done with the two things in question, I fear there is no hope of reconciling them. To this conclusion our Catholic brethren themselves seem to have come; and seeing that the two things could not be so explained as to appear in harmony, they have most effectually explained one of them away. They have suppressed it. The second commandment has been thrown out of the Decalogue, as I have shown on a former occasion. This is a part of the Catholics “short and easy method with Protestants.” It beats Leslie's with the Deists all to nothing. Whether it be as honest and correct a method, as it is short and easy, I refer to the judgment of my readers. One thing is very certain ; the Catholics must think that the old second commandment is, or at least looks very much against them, otherwise they would not have meddled with it. Can any other reason be given for the suppression of the second commandment, but that it seems to forbid that use which Catholics make of images in their churches ? If any body can imagine another reason, I will thank him to state it. Now, where there can be but one motive impelling to an act, 1 suppose it is not uncharitable to refer the act to that motive.
I believe the reader is aware that, even in the little modern Baltimore book, “the guide to heaven.' the second commandment is suppressed. I think I have slated that fact in a former article. It is so. And why should it not be ? Why should not the inraria ble religion be the same here that it is in Ireland or Italy? Why should American Catholics be bound to keep one more commandment than European Catholics? Why should they of the old countries have greater liberty of action than we of the new world ? The circumstances under which the second commandment is omitted in "the guide to,” &c. are these. An examination, preparatory to confession, is recommended to the devout Catholic, on the ten commandments, that he may see, before he goes to the priest to get forgiveness, wherein he has transgressed any of them. Now, he is not directed to examine himself on the second, but twice over on the tenth, so as to make out the full number. Now I acknowledge it would have been awkward to have set the person to examining himself in reference to the second commandment. It might have led to a conviction of sins not recognized by his confessor. If he had asked himself, “is there any graven image, or likeness of any thing in heaven above, or in the earth beneath, to which I bow down ?" himself would have been apt
“Why yes, there is that image of Christ I kneel before—and there is that likeness of the blessed Virgin I bow down to and adore-I am afraid I have broken the second commandment." If then he had gone to the priest with his scruples, you see it would have made work and trouble. It is true, the priest could have said to him, “O, my child, you don't mean any thing by it. You only use the image as a help to devotion. Your worship does not terminate on it. Your worship of it is only relative. Besides, you don't adore the image-you only venerate it