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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,

367

CHAPTER XVI.

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..
Confessionals were ordered to be established in cathedral
churches, and public penance inflicted for very scandal-
ous offences; the latter provision, however, was nulli.
fied by permission given to the bishop to commute public
for private penance, if he saw sufficient grounds for so
doing. The former decrees respecting pluralities were
renewed. Cardinals and prelates were admonished not
to exceed the bounds of moderation in their manner of
living, furniture, dress, &c. Solemn injunctions were
issued to all ecclesiastics, of every rank, and to all mem-
bers of universities, to receive and hold whatever the
council had decreed, to promise and profess due obedi-
ence to the Roman Pontiff, and to anathematize public-
ly all heresies. Excommunication, which had been so
often inflicted on slight grounds that it was rather de-
spised than dreaded, was to be very cautiously enforced,
and only for weighty reasons : magistrates were strict-
ly forbidden to interfere with the bishops in this matter,
or to prevent the exercise of their power. Neglect or
refusal to pay tithes was especially mentioned as a va-
lid ground for excommunication. Priests keeping con-
cubines, or retaining any suspicious females in their
houses, were condemned to suffer the loss of a third part
of their incomes; if they persisted, they incurred sus-
pension; for a third offence, privation; for a fourth, ex-
communication. Should any bishops be found guilty
of such an offence, and refuse to amend, they were to be
reported to the Pope, who would exercise his own dis-
cretion in the infliction of punishment. The children of
priests were forbidden the enjoyment of any ecclesiasti-
cal place or office in the church in which their fathers
officiated-an enactment which unwittingly betrayed
the inefficiency of the laws of continence. A severe law
was passed against duelling, subjecting the parties, both
principals and seconds, to excommunication in which
sentence even the sovereigns, princes, or nobles in whose
dominions the duel was permitted to take place, were in-
cluded,) confiscation of all their property, perpetual in-
fainy, and the punishments inflicted for manslaughter,
with denial of the rites of christian interment, if either
fell in the conflict. The clause in the first decree passed
under Pius IV. by which the legates reserved to them-

selves the right of proposing all business to the council,
received a modified interpretation, whereby all intention
to innovate, or introduce any thing prejudicial to the
powers of general councils, was disavowed; why, then,
was not the clause expunged ? Instead of the projected
reform of the secular powers, which had made so much
noise, a brief but comprehensive chapter was inserted,
renewing all former canons and decrees of general coun-
cils, in favour of the immunities of the ecclesiastics and
against those who should violate the same, and exhort-
ing all sovereigns to ensure due reverence to the clergy
on the part of their subjects, to prevent any infringe-
ment of their privileges, and to patronise and support the
church to the utmost of their power. Lastly, it was de-
clared that all the decrees passed respecting the refor-
mation of manners and ecclesiastical discipline, were to
be so understood and interpreted, as to preserve always
and in all things, the authority of the apostolic See !
Thus, in open defiance of all Christendom, securing the
continuance of whatever enormity or abuse the pontiff
for the time being might think fit to support and de-
fend! 3 2 And indeed, the whole reformation (as it was
called) decreed by the council, was so framed and con-
stituted as to be altogether useless, inoperative, and
vain. The greatest evils were left untouched: if some
few abuses were corrected, others were introduced; the
papal power, the great source of tyranny and corrup-
tion, was not meddled with: but on the contrary, the
Pope assumed the sole right to expound, administer, or
dispense with the decrees of the council, and obtained,
by its last decree, an apparently legal sanction for his
usurpations. 3 3

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
of the fathers at Trent, when their endeavours to procure reform
proved unavailing, expressed their discontent in satirical verses, such
as the following:

“Concilii quæ prima fuit, si quæris, origo,

Quo medium dicam, quo quoque finis erat ?
A nihilo incepit, medium finisque recedet

In nihil. Ex nihilo nascitur ecce nihil.”
Do you ask me how the Council was began, conducted and termi-
nated ? " I will tell you. It began in nothing and was conducted and
finished in the same manner. Thus nothing sprung from nothing."

Le Plat, vii. part 2. p. 389.

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