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Catholics. The fame doctrine has been preached not long ago from the Protestant pulpit. Thus, it is the glory of our days, to fee the unhappy spirit of persecution dying away, and Christian charity succeeding the intemperate zeal and unchristian superstition which, for many years, had disgraced religion, and dishonoured humanity.
Bells, steeples, and churches richly ornamented, contribute to the outward pomp and solemnity of worship: but an upright heart and pure conscience are the temples .in which the Divinity delights. We would fain worship God our own way. .Doubtless. But are we to worship him against his will? In lighting up the sacred fire, are we to burn the house of God? Saul, king of Israel, intended to worship God, in of'fering up a sacrifice. The Lord rejected him, because he offered it up against the law. His intention was good; but the action criminal. Thus, the Lord would reject you, if, under pretence of a more free worship, you\flocked to the standard of an enemy; rose up in rebellion against lawful authority; plundered your neighbour; and imbrued your hands in the blood of your fellow-subjects.
Let none then fay, " We will have a Catho*• lie king." Subjects are little concerned in
the religion of governors. Thousands of Catholics lose thejr. souls in France and Italy, after leading a loose and dissolute life; thousands ofthem work their salvation in the Protestant states of Holland and Germany. It is then equal to man, what religion his neighbour or king be of, provided his own conscience be pure, and his life upright.
The Prussian, Dutch, and Hanoverian Catholics live under Protestant governments, and join their sovereigns against Catholic powers. Their religion is the fame with yours. And this religion enforces obedience to the king and magistrates under whom we live. Christ commanded tribute to be paid to an heathen prince, and acknowledged the temporal power of an heathen magistrate, who pronounced sentence of death against him.
Nero, sovereign of the world, rips open his mothei's womb, and begins the first bloody persecution against the Christians: seventeen thousand of whom were slaughtered in one month; and their bodies, daubed over with pitch and tar, hung up to give light to the city. St. Paul, dreading that such horrid usage would force them to overturn the state, and join the enemies of the empire, writes to them in the following manner: "Let every man be subject to
** the higher powers: and they that resist re** ceive unto themselves. damnation." * A. strong conviction then that, in obeying our rulers, we obey God, (who leaves no virtue unrewarded, as he leaves no vice unpunished) sweetens the thoughts of subjection: and, under the hardest master, obedience is no longer a hardship to the true Christian.
So great was the impression made by this doctrine on the minds of the primitive Christians,—• so great was their love for public order,-*—that, although they filled the whole empire and all the armies, they never once flew out into any disorder. Under all the cruelties that the rage of persecutors could invent,-?—amidst so many -fed;* tions and civil wars,-~amidst so many conspiracies against the persons of emperors,—>not A seditious Christian could be found,
"We have the same motives to animate our conduct; the same incentives to piety,godliness, and honesty; the fame expectations that raise us above all earthly things, and put us beyond the reach of mortality. "For, here on earth," fays • St. Paul, " we have not a lasting city, but ex"pect a better." Let not public calamities, bloody wars, the scourges of Heaven, and the
* Rom. chap. xiii.
udgments of God, be incentives to vice, plunder, rebellion, and murder; but rather the occasions of the reformation of our morals, and spurs to repentance. Let religion, which by patience has triumphed over the Cæsars, and displayed the cross in the banners of kings without sowing disorders in their realms, support itself without the accursed aid of insurrections and crimes. Far from expecting to enrich ourselves at the expence of justice, and under the fatal shelter of clouds of confusion and troubles, let us seriously reflect, that death will soon level the poor and rich in the dust of the grave; that we are all to appear naked before the awful tribunal of Jesus Christ, to account for our actions; and that it is by millions of times more preferable to partake of the happiness of Lazarus, who was conveyed to Abraham's bosom, after a life of holiness and poverty, than to be rich and wicked, and to share the fate of that unhappy man who, dressed in purple, and after a life of ease and opulence, was refused a drop of water to allay his burning thirst. In expectation that you will comply with the instructions of your bishop and clergy, not only from dread of the laws, but moreover from the love and fear of God,
I remain, my dear brethren,
Your affectionate servant,
Cork, Aug. 14,
17/9 ARTHUR O'LEARY.