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and unwary, and hardened the infidel. And although in innumerable instances the vile imposture has been detected and exposed, or the true cause of the phenomenon (if it were such) explained, ingenuity is still at work, and new miracles “recognised and approved,” according to the requirement of the decree, are pompously announced, and lauded as irrefragable proofs of the divinity of the Roman Catholic religion. 32 The established Protestant is not moved by these things. Admitting, in some cases, the truth of the alleged facts, he is fully prepared to prove that they are not miraculous, and may be easily accounted for. A strongly excited imagination has often produced extraordinary effects
31 The Breviary teems with narratives of miracles wrought by the saints. For instance, St. Francis Xavier turned a sufficient quantity of salt water into fresh to save the lives of five hundred travellers, who were dying of thirst, enough being left to allow a large exportation to different parts of the world, where it performed astonishing cures. St. Raymond de Pennafort laid his cloak on the sea, and sailed thereon from Majorca to Barcelona, a distance of a hundred and sixty miles, in six hours. St. Juliana lay on her deathbed: her stomach rejected all solid food, and in consequence she was prevented from receiving the eucharist. In compliance with her earnest solicitations, the consecrated wafer was laid upon her breast; the priest prayed; the wafer vanished; and Juliana expired. S. Elizabeth, queen of Portugal, had lived a long while on bread and water; in her illness the physicians directed her to take wine; when she refused to follow their prescription, the water she was about to drink was miraculously changed into wine. With many others of the same sort. Breviar. Dec. 3; Jan. 23; June 19; July 8.
Many pages might be filled with accounts of modern miracles, of the most ridiculous description, yet piously believed by Roman Catholics. The reader may consult Forsyth’s Italy, ii. p. 154-157. Rome in the Nineteenth Century, i. p. 40, 86; ii. p. 356; ïïi. p. 193–201. Lady Morgan's Italy, č. p. 306; Graham's Three Months' Residence, &c. p. 241.
Every body has heard of the annual liquefaction of the blood of St. Januarius at Naples. “ During the first occupation of the French the miracle failed, and was so designedly conducted for the purpose of agitating the people, and producing a re-action: but the French general sent a peremptory order to the saint to do his spiriting gently,' under pain of making an example of the attending priests, which he promptly obeyed. When the miracle fails, the people load the saint with all manner of abuse and execration; and wote the foreigner who shall continue in the church at this juncture; the failure is soon attributed to his heretical presence, and he is sure to be outraged, if not injured.” Lady Morgan's Italy, iii. p. 189.
on the human frame, apart from all divine interposition. Besides this, he knows that the doctrines in support of which the miracles are said to be wrought, are not found in Scripture, nor can be derived therefrom, by any fair argument or deduction. Of the divine origin and authority of the Sacred Volume he has previous and wellgrounded assurance. All religious sentiments not contained in that holy book are necessarily erroneous, and any presumed supernatural interference in their behalf is delusive and false,
THE INDEX-THE CATECHISM.
Decrees of reformation-Acclamations of the fathers at the close of
the council-Index of prohibited books—Rules of the congregation of the Index-Account of a Spanish Index Expurgatorius- Publication of the Catechism-Remarks on a recent translation of that work.
The reforming decrees passed in the two last sessions of the council of Trent yet remain to be noticed. They included the following particulars:
It was enjoined that in the election of bishops great care should be taken to select persons of suitable age, qualifications, and character; and that after due examination and inquiry, report thereon should be made to the Pope, who, with the advice of the consistory, would make the appointment; and similar regulations were decreed in reference to cardinals. Feeling, however, that it was useless to legislate for the sovereign pontiff, a clause was added, expressive of the deep concern felt by the council that his Holiness would choose none but fit and proper persons for those important stations, lest the flocks should perish through the negligence of the shepherds. Provincial and diocesan synods were ordered to be held, the former once in three years, the latter annually. Patriarchs, bishops, archdeacons, &c. were directed to make periodical visitations of the dioceses, for the maintenance of orthodox sentiments, the suppression of heresy, and the correction of evils and abuses; and priests were commanded to preach and catechise every Sunday and holiday, and daily in Lent and Advent, as also to explain to the people the nature and power of the sacraments, and give other useful instructions, in the intervals of mass, in the vernacular tongue. The Pope reserved to himself the judgment of all important
criminal causes affecting bishops, especially heresy..
selves the right of proposing all business to the council,
32 Pallav. I. xxiii. c. 10–12; xxiv. c.7. Sarpi, 1. viii. s. 66, 77,
33 See Preservative against Popery, vol. i. tit. i. p. 54–75. Some
“Concilii quæ prima fuit, si quæris, origo,
Quo medium dicam, quo quoque finis erat ?
In nihil. Ex nihilo nascitur ecce nihil.”
Le Plat, vii. part 2. p. 389.