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ment of celestial bliss. “This day shalt thou be with me in Paradise !”—not in purgatory.
How miserable are the consolations which the religion of Rome offers to the mourner. Not more terrible are the thoughts of the poor pagan, as in imagination he follows the spirit of the departed, through the several series of its revolting transmigrations. I cannot conceive with what feelings I should approach the habitation of mourning, or address the afflicted widow and her weeping orphans, if my religion taught that however firm had been the faith, or consistent the piety, or self-denying the zeal, or triumphant the death of their deceased relative, his soul at that moment was enduring agonies that could only be alleviated at an expence that would require the sacrifice of all their temporal comforts, and perhaps deprive them of the necessaries of life. I regret to say that I cannot contemplate the actual operation of this system, and state the truth of my convictions, without declaring, that to my view it casts a dark shade of the most horrible cruelty over the character of its priesthood. In what light can we regard the character of the man, who, believing that certain prayers he can repeat, or that a few ceremonies he can practice, or that the masses he can perform, could effect the release of his fellowman from unutterable agony, should yet withhold them. Or what can we think of the feelings of the man, who believes that the soul, it may be, of
his bosom friend, or former companion is "weltering in a lake of liquid fire,”—who believes that he, or his colleagues has power to rescue it from further suffering, and yet could wait for pecuniary payment? It is truly refreshing to turn from these revolting exhibitions of human credulity and imposture, to the plain declarations and glad tidings of Scripture. By these we are directed to Him “ who is able to save them to the uttermost, that come unto God by him.” “If any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous : and he is the propitiation.” “THE BLOOD OF JESUS CHRIST HIS SON CLEANSETH US FROM ALL SIN."
The manner in which the dogma is made to serve the interests of the Romish priesthood may be learned from the following instructive document: –“ PURGATORIAN SOCIETY, instituted July 1, 1813, and held in St. James's chapel, Dublin.” It is thus introduced :
“ The members who compose the society of the office for the dead, commenced on the above day, at the said place, adopting the spirit and meaning of the above sacred text, (Macabees xii. 56,) and wishing, in conformity to the divine precepts of the Holy Catholic Church, to extend their charitable views beyond the grave, by relieving, as far as in them lies, the suffering souls in purgatory, and inviting all tender-hearted Catholics, who have a feeling sensibility of the duty they owe their departed parents, relations, and friends, who probably now stand more in need of their commiseration at present than at any period of their life time, to assist in the charitable and pious purpose of shortening the duration of their sufferings by the most easy means imaginable, have agreed to, and adopted the following rules :
Then follow nine rules of which those subjoined will show the general spirit and meaning.
Rule 2. “That every well-disposed Catholic, wishing to contribute to the relief of the suffering souls in purgatory, shall pay one penny per week, which shall be appropriated to the procuring of masses, to be offered up for the repose of the souls of the deceased parents, relations, and friends, of all the subscribers—to the institution in particular and the faithful departed in general.”
Rule 6. That the spiritual benefits of this institution shall be conferred in the following manner : viz. Each subscriber shall be entitled to an office at the time of their death, another at the expiration of a month, and one at the end of
twelve months after their decease; also the benefit of masses which shall be procured to be offered, by the money arising from subscriptions, and which shall be extended to their parents, relatives and friends, in the following order, that is to say, their fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, uncles, aunts, and if married, husbands, wives, and children, if they have any departed who lived to maturity.”
ON PENANCE AND CONFESSION.
Having a form of godliness but denying the power
thereof. 2 Tim, iii. 3
In these words we have an appropriate epitome of the whole system denominated by the term Romanism. As the several parts of that system are brought under inspection, its extreme dissimilarity to the holy religion of the New Testament becomes more apparent. True Christianity is essentially a religion of life and power. It has its seat in the heart; but its hallowed influence pervades the whole character. It brings salvation to men, and effectually teaches them that denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, they should live soberly righteously, and godly in this present world, It effects the most remarkable moral transformations ; not by imposing pompous rites and ceremonies--not by any saving efficacy derived from external ordinances, but by the power of the Holy Spirit-by those divine operations in which “God who commanded the light to shine out of darkness hath shined into our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus