« PreviousContinue »
gracious charges the Reformer returns thanks, and declares that he cannot do otherwise than consider himself greatly honoured by the accusation, and he uses the following strong phrases, viz.: “ For I would much prefer that the executioner should stretch me on the wheel, or burn me to ashes, than that Duke George should commend me for being a virtuous and true monk. It is true I was a pious friar, and so rigidly observed the rule of my order, that I dare affirm, if ever a monk reached heaven through monachism, I am sure I should. And this will all my cloister companions testify, who knew me; and had I remained a little longer in the convent, I should have worn myself to death with watching, praying, reading, and other hard employment. If I am perjured, I am not so to Duke George, but to Jesus Christ ; and should Christ charge me with perjury, then I certainly must be guilty ; but should my Redeemer do no such thing, when Duke George and I must stand face to face before his judgment seat, what will my adversary answer, though the pontiff and all the world stand by him ? I feel certain that Duke George has sense enough to perceive that no lord should condemn the servant of another master, and certainly in this business of the monastic vow I never was that Prince's servant or subject, as the Almighty knows, and the duke himself. Add to this, I never took any oath in the cloister, or when I was a friar; indeed, monks are not made to swear, but they are required to promise and to vow, to make a profession. The friarlings do not call those who renounce the vow, by the term perjured, but apostates ; but little do I care to stand and argue about words.”
The Reformer charges the monastic orders with the folly of comparing their profession with Christ's baptism, nor could they deny the imputation. Such doctrines were received throughout the world, such practice was in vogue, and, adds Luther, “I also was greeted with good wishes when I made my profession ; I was congratulated by the prior, by the convent, and my confessor, who told me I had become as innocent as a child, when it comes fresh and pure from baptism. Indeed I myself felt the highest satisfaction at the sudden transformation I had undergone, and that too with so much expedition, and with so little labour. But afterwards, when any little temptation arose, I fell from my confidence; I found that neither baptism nor monachism could help me, and I became the veriest wretch upon earth, and I regarded the Saviour in no other light than that of a stern judge, from whose sight I longed to fly, and yet could never escape."
The Reformer now addresses every friar in the following terms :“I utter such language for your sake, my brother, whether you have embraced or have renounced your order, whether you live within or without the convent, and do not turn a credulous ear to Duke George and his clamour; I have learned the Holy Scripture with immense pains for above twenty years, with prayer and watchfulness; but the Romanists are quite deceived on this head, and know not what they say. Let them revile me as they will, only let them not add the disgrace of calling me a true pious monk; for a friar [ neither will be, nor allow myself so to be called; let Duke George and his party put on their monkish hood when they lie on their death-beds, and die in the cowl, and see whether they have chosen the surest road to bliss.”
Henry VIII. of England wrote in the following terms 'to Martin Luther, in a letter, replying to one addressed to him by the Reformer:“ In the first place, you dissuade people from adhering to the chaste celibate, which is a rule expressly recommended in the Gospel; and at last, you yourself cast it aside, though you formerly embraced it. The chastity which you vowed, promised, and devoted to God, you renounce, which you are bound to preserve, by the united authority and testimonies of the sacred writings; as in Ps. lxxv.; Vow and pay unto the Lord.'” To these accusations for his renunciation of friar's orders, the Reformer used the following language ;-“Under the Papacy the world has been as much stocked with sects and parties, as it was in the days of heathen antiquity, with its various orders, foundations, churches, pilgrimages, brotherhoods, &c. The Pontiff has founded them all, and they must needs be called holy orders, holy states, holy pillars, holy lights of Christendom. But the Gospel at last comes, and preaches concerning but one general order of Christianity, and one body in Christ, without divisions ; for here (says St. Paul), there is neither Jew nor Greek, neither barefoot Franciscan, nor Car. thusian, &c. But were we, on the other hand, to invent any other and new brotherhood, like their fraternities, this would not have been called an innovation. The Pontiff would have directly confirmed it, and other men would have willingly espoused it, and given it joint honours with themselves. Yet because we praise the general order of Christ's faith, and call it the best and holiest state, yes, the only true and right fraternity, we are charged by our adversaries as the authors of disunion, division, and disorder.”
In his Preface to a Treatise bearing the title of “ Cloister Vows," the Reformer addresses his father, John Luther, and describes himself as having entered the sixteenth year of his profession of monachism. It appears from his own words that the son had embraced the cloistered life at first without the father's knowledge and consent. The father, John Luther, trembled at the rashness of his son Martin, for making the vow of perpetual celibacy, commencing at the early and perilous age of twenty-two years. Luther tells his father, that the latter had used this argument with his son, and had pointed to the many fatal consequences in the conduct of the conventual devotees, and reminds his father how much the latter had recommended him to marry prudently and respectably. But at that time the future Reformer was inexorably bent on leading a religious life in a cell; and yet the warning voice of his father sunk deeply into Luther's conscience, and seemed as if it came from above. The following language of the Reformer is translated literally for the reader and deserves attention, viz.:-" It appears to me to have been the design of the Almighty, indeed I now perceive most thoroughly that He determined I should be made experimentally acquainted with the wisdom and learning of the High Schools, and with cloistered sanctity ;-that I should personally and completely see through it all ;-that is, that I should behold the innumerable evils and abuses that are of secret occurrence. And hence the abettors of the celibate rule cannot charge me with running down and opposing what was never presented before me as an eye-witness. I am therefore a monk, and yet not a monk;—and I am a new creature, not of the Pontiff's making, but of Christ's creation. For the Papal Father forms his creatures also, in his creation of idols and of idolaters, of whom I was one in my delusion,-in my deadly errors, from which divine grace has emancipated my soul. I, therefore, send you, dear father, this treatise, to show you the mighty power and marvellous signs which the Saviour has worked to redeem me from my monastic vows, and to make me a servant for the benefit of all mankind, and yet not the vassal of any, but to serve Him only. For surely He is my immediate bishop, my superior, my Lord, and my father and master, or I know none at all. And should the Pontiff condemn and destroy me, still it would be beyond his power to revive me from death with the view of repeating upon me his deadly blows. Let him put me to ban and excommunication. From him I am resolved never to ask absolution. I should not care, if your blood and mine were to be spilled, provided our deaths might but bring speedier judgment upon the Papal Pontifex at Rome. Let us both with our two lives and voices confess that Jesus Christ alone is Lord and God blessed for evermore! May you, dear father, be blessed in Him! and may my mother, your Margaret, be blessed, and also the whole family.”— From my cell, Nov. 21, Anno M. D. 21. .
(To be continued.)
DECLARATION OF THE CHURCH OF ENGLAND CONTRASTED WITH
THAT OF THE CHURCH OF ROME, ON THE USE OF THE HOLY SCRIPTURES. THERE is, perhaps, no instance in which the difference between the Protestant and Romish mode of treating the Scriptures appears more striking than in the following.
England, in the solemn act of her Coronation Service, places the written word of truth in the hands of the Sovereign, as containing the principles by which the ruled and the rulers are alike to regulate their conduct. Such is one of the first acts of national recognition of the supremacy of Scripture. The Church and the nation alike offer homage therein to Him, who has vouchsafed that written revelation of his will to man.
In the grand State document issued by the Pope on his accession to the Pontificate, the Bible in the vulgar tongue is denounced, and the people exhorted to turn aside from it. From the Coronation Service of From the Encyclical Letter of Pope Her Majesty Queen Victoria.
. Leo XII., May, 1824. 28th June, 1838.
“ You are not ignorant, venerable breTHE FOLLOWING OCCURS ON THE thren, that a Society, commonly called the
PRESENTING OF THE HOLY Bible Society, is boldly stalking throughBIBLE.
out the world, which, contemning the Then shall the Dean of West- traditions of the holy Fathers, and conminster take the Holy Bible, trary to the well-known decree of the which was carried in the Pro- Council of Trent, is tending all its strength, cession, from off the Altar, and and by every means to translate the Bible deliver it to the Archbishop, in the vulgar languages of all nations, or who with the same Archbishops rather to pervert it. Whence it is greatly and Bishops as before, going to be feared lest as in some versions along with him, shall present it already known, so also in others, by a
to the Queen, first saying these perverse interpretation, instead of the words to her:
Gospel of Christ it should become the Our Gracious Queen; we pre- Gospel of man, or what is worse, the Gossent you with this Book, the pel of the Devil. most valuable thing that this world affords. Here is Wisdom; “ We, also, venerable brethen, in conthis is the Royal Law; these are formity with our apostolic duty, exhort the lively Oracles of God. Blessed you to turn away your flock, by all means, is he that readeth, and they that from these poisonous pastures." The hear the words of this Book; Scriptures translated in the vulgar tongue. that keep, and do, the things “ Reprove, beseech, be instant in season contained in it. For these are and out of season, in all patience and the Words of Eternal Life, able doctrine, that the faithful intrusted to to make you wise and happy in you (adhering strictly to the rules of our this world, nay, wise unto salva- congregation of the Index), be persuaded tion, and so happy, for evermore, that if the sacred Scriptures be everythrough faith which is in Christ where indiscriminately published, more Jesus; to whom be Glory for evil than advantage will arise thence, on ever. Amen.
account of the rashness of men.”
This Bull of the Pope was published in Ireland, along with Pastoral Instructions from the Irish Roman Catholic bishops. An extract from their Pastoral Instructions is as follows:
“Our Holy Father recommends to the observance of the faithful, a rule of the Congregation of the Index, which prohibits the perusal of the sacred Scriptures in the vulgar tongue, without the sanction of the competent authorities. His Holiness wisely remarks, that more evil than good is found to result from the indiscriminate perusal of them, on account of the rashness of men. In this sentiment of our Head and Chief we fully concur.”
If confession be received, there DR. PUSEY, in his sermon preached must be confessors fitted for their on the First Sunday in Advent, 1846, office by special training, made acpp. 14, 15, states, “that confession quainted with every species of crime, is resorted to by thousands in these proficients in the art of questioning later years, not exhorted thereto by every class, probing the inmost reman, but impelled and constrained by cesses of the heart, gaining possession God's voice within the conscience, to of the most secret thoughts, declaring seek therein, as they have found, whether they are innocent or wicked, pardon, and grace, and peace.” That and then proportioning punishment is to say, there are a number of according to the deserts; thus holdpriests, of confessors, in the habit of ing in absolute thraldom the whole receiving confessions from multitudes people, establishing themselves as arof people, and giving them absolution bitrators of their final destiny. This for their sins.
once accomplished, they mould the There can be no confession without world to their will. confessors; there can be no finding of This practice is a most fearful thing. pardon, grace, and peace, without It not only establishes a spiritual absolvers, having Almighty preroga- despotism, not only invades the pritives, and dispensers possessing Di- vacy of home, violates the confidence vine rights.
of husband and wife, loosens and
shakes the whole framework of society, to stand and see ulcer after ulcer of but leads some men, it is to be feared, the putridest sort (2) laid open by a to certain destruction,-eternal death. cool and steady lecturer, who, with
Popery, in and by the practice of polluted mind and conscience, seared confession, makes distinction between and brazen brow, and hardened heart, sin and sin, teaches that in some while they shudder, rebukes them and other way it is to be atoned for than compels them to examine and analyse by the Lord Jesus' perfect and one and pore into the corrupt mass, until sacrifice, denies the great truth, that infected themselves, (3) maddened by by his obedience we are made right the burning poison as it courses with eous, that this is imputed to us; denies resistless speed through every vein, the indwelling of the Spirit, and that their heart turns putrid too. Then believers are like the Apostle Paul, to go forth, all leprous as they are, who thus writes, “When I would do separated and divided from every good, evil is present with me. But man, cut off from the common birthif I consent unto the law that it is right of humanity, having no home, good, it is no more I that do it, but no “ help-mate," as the only wise sin that dwelleth in me;" denies, God, whose name is love, and whose 6 that there is no condemnation to “every creature is good,” designed them which are in Christ Jesus ;” and provided for man, to share his denies " that none can lay anything sorrows, to partake of his joys, to to the charge of God's elect."
soothe him when weary with the toils It turns the chastenings of God the and cares and anxieties of this brief Father into the exactions of God the life, to whom he might "give honour, angry and severe judge, and instead as being an heir with him of the of displaying him as the gracious and grace of eternal life,"—with whom he reconciled to us in Christ, and because might“ mingle his prayers,” and with he loveth us, correcting us, and so whom he might commune of the rest, soon as the wished-for and needful which the “holy women of old, dwelling effect is produced, withdrawing the in subjection to their own husbands, rod, represents him as never satisfied, and ornamented with a meek and quiet but still demanding, demanding, de- spirit, in the sight of God of great manding.
price,” looked for, and into which It thus opposes Christ; virtually they have long since entered; no and practically denies him to be the child, engraving his tenderest affecLamb of God who taketh away the tions, “ to bring up in the nurture sins of the world; the propitiation and admonition of the Lord;” no for our sins; the Lord our righteous- country to love, to guard with his ness, who hath made reconciliation strength, to profit by his ability, to for iniquity, made an end of sin, and intercede for with his prayers. No, brought in everlasting righteousness; but each one with his hand against one Mediator between God and man; every man, envious at happiness the merciful and faithful and compas- which he cannot enjoy, to go forth sionate High Priest; the ever-living In- reckless of consequences, to spread tercessor ; the all-prevailing Advocate. through a too susceptible world, a
This great engine of Popery, con- deadly, soul-destroying plague. fession, is now recommended to Eng And this is the system the whiteland under the cloak of a relief to robed Dr. Pusey would introduce and tender consciences. Yes. Young men, foster and encourage to relieve tender men of like passions unto us, are to consciences. be brought into the rest house, de How intimately one error is conbarred the use of every disinfecting nected with another, we are not often agent, exposed to the concentrated aware until we examine. The whole virus of centuries of vice : the pro Romish system is so connected, that duce not only of the refined licenti- you can no more have one part without ousness of courts, and the brutal sen- having the whole, than you can take suality of the camp, (1) but also of away one part without destroying the the hideous, revolting wickedness of whole. It is a wonderful scheme, the celibate. Yes. Young men are most subtlely devised, most skilfully