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known by the unaided senses. But, mark the dishonesty of White, who set out in this paragraph by stating that our doctrine could not be established without the aid of Aristotle; and at its conclusion, gives its explanation by modern philosophy. “Christ occupies the place of the bread and wine, and produces the impressions peculiar to them on the senses.” Thus he shows that he knowingly wrote what was not true. He however calls this delusion. What will he call the cases of the apparition of angels and of the Holy Ghost? It is not delusion; because we are informed that at the consecration a change is effected in substance, though not in appearance. God thus affords to us the means of knowing the fact; if we believe him there is no delusion; if we will not, we delude ourselves, and we are criminal; the fault is ours, not that of our Creator.
I may then conclude this letter by stating, that of all the wretched attempts of this man, that made by him in this note is the most unfortunate. It is, throughout, a combination of false imputations, unsound philosophy, undeserved sneers at men of extraordinary acquirements and great natural ability, confusion of ideas, a betrayal of ignorance and self-sufficiency, together with low blasphemy; and this is what the Right Rev. Bishop Kemp and the other members of the holy alliance recommended to their flocks, by way of sound instruction! Surely their doctrine has need of explanation, and it would be well for them, if it was as intelligible as is the philosophical system of what they are pleased to call a barbarous age. Yours, and so forth,
CHARLESTON, S. C., May 28, 1827. To the Roman Catholics of the United States of America.
My Friends,—The next passage of White's that comes under our observation commences at page 89.
“The abundance of ceremonies supposed to produce supernatural effects, must magnify the character of the privileged ministers of those ceremonies. Hence a Church possessing seven sacraments, is far superior in influence to one who acknowledges but two. Add to this the nature of four out of five Roman sacraments—penance, 'extreme unction, ordination and matrimony—and the extent of power which she thereby obtains, will appear. Penance, i. e. auricular confession, puts the consciences of the laity under the direction of the priesthood. Extreme unction is one of her means to allay fear and remorse. Ordination is intimately connected with the influence which the Roman Church derives from transubstantiation, and its being made a sacrament, adds probability to the miraculous powers which it is supposed to confer. Finally, by giving the sacramental character to matrimony the source and bond of civil society is directly and primarily subjected to the Church.”
Upon this I have little to remark—the principle having been previously disposed of, viz. That the possession of power in the Church is evidence, “internal evidence,” that ours is not the true Church of Christ, who said to his Apostles, and in their persons to the Church, “As my Father hath sent me, even so I send you." 25 “But that you may know the son of man hath power on earth,' and so forth. 26 "They marvelled and glorified God which had given such power to men.” 27 “And when he had called unto him his twelve disciples, he gave them power," and so forth. 28 “All power is given to me in heaven and in earth, go ye therefore, and teach all nations ... teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I commanded you: and lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world." 29 Yet in the very teeth of those declarations, White and the holy alliance would tell us that her claim to spiritual power is internal evidence of the corruption of our Church : and there is not a single one of the sects to which they belong that does not claim and attempt to use more power over its members than any general council claims or uses in our Church. Suppose, then, I were to admit the truth of White's first proposition, what would be the consequence? That the clergy had more spiritual power, because their commission was more extensive. Is this untrue? No Christian will deny its truth, but even any rational man will say, that the important question is not whether the character is magnified or diminished, but whether any ecclesiastical ceremony is efficacious, and if so how many. The true question is, to what does the commission extend? Thus the very question which this man avoids is that which is important, and his rhapsody is but got up for creating prejudice, not for investigating truth: hence too his second proposition, and the whole sequel, are unfair and delusive. The number and the nature of the sacraments are to be known by inquiring what Christ instituted; not by asking what mankind may think of his bestowing character or conferring power.
It is untrue that penance is auricular confession, or that auricular confession is penance. I might as well assert that the Senate is the Congress, the main spring is a watch, the rudder is a ship, or the axletree is a cart; in a word, that one of the parts of any thing is the whole of that of which it is a part. Penance consists of three parts on the side of the penitent, and one on that of the clergyman, that is, four parts in the whole: and confession is but one of those four parts, and very frequently the least necessary: so that it is a gross misrepresentation to identify penance and auricular confession in this offhanded mode in which the untruth is here put forward. I will suppose the case of a man who has committed a theft to a large amount, and contrived to shift the imputation of dishonesty upon an innocent father of a family, by which his reputation is destroyed and his family is ruined. This criminal may, however, through the merits of Christ's death, be forgiven by the sacrament of “penance, i. e. auricular confession." The impression which this conveys to the mind, is naturally that according to the tenets of our Church, the criminal has only to confess in the ear of a priest, and be forgiven. Such, I am aware, is the notion entertained by three or four millions of our enlightened fellow-citizens upon the subject. Yet an ignorant Spaniard would tell us that this was by no means sufficient amongst Catholics ; that besides this confession, three other ingredients were necessary, viz. contrition and satisfaction on the part of the sinner, and absolution by the clergyman.
25 John xx, 21. 26 Matt, ix, 6.
1b. ix, 8. 28 Matt. x, 1. 20 Ib. xxviii, 18, et seq.
Thus, in the case stated, the crime is easily told—but, a true and sincere sorrow for having offended God, a sincere intention of avoiding future transgressions, and of flying from temptation, true and perfect repentance of heart, without which there can be no reconciliation with heaven, is generally the result of reflection, prayer, and the grace of the most high God. This first and essential requisite Mr. White altogether omits when he tells us “penance, [and] auricular confession,” mean the same thing. Another ingredient of penance is satisfaction. In the case before us, the criminal is bound to restore the sum which he had originally stolen to the person upon whom the theft was committed; to make good to him all the losses which he sustained in consequence thereof, and if possible to compensate for the feelings of mortification, pain and bitterness which were endured. This is something more than “auricular confession." But he has a far more extensive and difficult task to perform-he must use every exertion to restore the character of the innocent man, who, by his contrivance, bore the punishment due to an offence which he did not commit: he must compensate him for his losses, he must endeavor to soothe his feelings: he must make reparation to his family. This is something more than “auricular confession.” This explains the horror with which dishonest Catholics contemplate confession; this accounts for their readiness to unite with Protestants in decrying and vilifying the tribunal of penance, and the difference of their conduct as regards this sacrament is an almost infallible criterion by which to judge of their general observance of the code of Christian morality. Were there no obligation to do more than to make “auricular confession,” there would be no difficulty in penance: but confession leads to satisfaction, and is useless unless accompanied by contrition or repentance, and the clergyman is answerable with his own soul at the bar of heaven for giving absolution, except where he has a moral certainty, after close examination, that the person to whom he gives it has all the proper dispositions : but even then the mistake of the priest will be no more security to the sinner than would be the sinner's own insincerity: unless he be truly penitent, and fully disposed to satisfy the justice of God and man, the absolution will be invalid, and his imperfect attempt will be a sacrilege. Thus, if auricular confession places the consciences of the laity under the direction of the priesthood; it also places those of the Pope, and of the Bishops, and of the Priests themselves, under the same control, for they must have recourse to the same tribunal for the same purpose, the remission of their sins; and the law of God is the great principle by which the director is to be guided, for when Christ breathed upon his Apostles and said to them, “Receive ye the Holy Ghost; Whosoever sins ye remit, they are remitted to them; and whosoever sins ye retain, they are retained ;' 30 he committed to them this power of remitting and retaining, to be exercised upon the principles of his moral and religious institutions, and not according to their individual caprice. As to their predecessors in the typical law of Moses, he gave a power of offering an atoning sacrifice after the confessions of the people, not upon their individual caprice, but in accordance with the great principles of that law of which he constituted them the judges. 31 That there exists power in this tribunal of penance, we do not deny, but we assert that it is a power bestowed by Christ, who is better able than we are to judge of the necessity and propriety of its bestowal: and it is a curious sort of logic which infers from the existence of power that our's could not be the Church of Christ, though we prove that the Saviour left such power in his Church. But whatever excuse the holy alliance in America might have for using the argument, it comes with a very bad grace from White, who calls himself a clergyman of the Church of England-one of whose rubrics is the following:
“Here shall the sick person be moved to make a special confession if he feel his conscience troubled with any weighty matter. After which confession the priest shall absolve him (if he humbly and heartily desire it) after this sort:
30 John xx, 22, 23. si Lev. v, 5; Num. v, 7; Deut. xvii.
“Our Lord Jesus Christ who hath left power to his Church to absolve all sinners which truly repent, and believe in him, of his great mercy forgive thee thine offences, and by his authority committed to me, I absolve thee from all thy sins, in the name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, Amen."
It is a little strange that White, a minister of the Church which declares Christ left this power to his Church, and who, by Christ's authority, is liable to be called upon for this exercise of power, should give us, as one of the topics of Internal Evidence against Catholicism, the claim of the Catholic Church to this power. What says Bishop Kemp to this? I am aware that his Church disclaims the power, but the Church of Eng. land claims it. But what says he to White's logic? What say the holy alliance to this argument of their adopted child? Before I leave this topic, I beg to remind Bishop Kemp that the first book of King Edward VI had this tailpiece to the above rubric:
“And the same form of absolution shall be used in all private confessions.”
Thus in the time of Edward VI the English Protestant Church had private confession and absolution, of as strict necessity as in our Church. In the time of Elizabeth the confession and absolution were only necessary for the dying, subsequently the confession and absolution were left to the discretion of the sick person, and the American Protestant Episcopal Church got rid of them altogether: so that they could not ali be following the institution of Christ: Will the holy alliance vouchsafe to inform us which of them was right?
Were I to argue against the Church of England, or against the Lutheran Church in Europe which preserves confession and absolution as White does against the Roman Catholic Church, I would feel humbled and degraded in my own estimation. I shall conclude this topic with the following extract from the Cork Mercantile Chronicle, an Irish paper, of the 2nd of last month, April, giving a portion of the assizes news in that city. The trial of the cause was held before Mr. Justice Torrens. De Lacour is the Treasurer of the County, and a Protestant.Ryan is we believe a Catholic.
“Ryan vs. De Lacour. “This was an action brought by the plaintiff to recover the sum of £408 from the defendant, being the amount of a presentment for building a bridge on the Mallow-road, and which came on last assizes,