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for pardon, and lo! he is forgiven ; he has scarce conceived a fervent longing to be absolved from past sin, and God's compassion hears. and accepts him. In that boundless Mercy He receives sinners rather as their Friend than as their Judge, for the judge is constrained to punish sin, but when once the sinner does but humbly confess his fault, God blots out all memory thereof and forgives him freely.”CANON Carter's Self-Renunciation, p. 336.
God forgives, not the priest, mark ye! God hears the mere conception of a longing to be absolved, so where is the need for the priestly intervention?
“We can never so shut Him out from the souls He has created, but that He will return to cleanse and heal us if we will be healed.” – Ibid., p. 337.
Then why the use of solemn excommunication and deferred absolution? O, blasphemous mockery is thy name! If we will be healed He will return to our souls to cleanse ; so we may receive His saving grace without the priest and without placing ourselves in obedient humility to his desires and commands ! Shame, shame on us to yield thus to a man's dictatorial and absurd dictates, when God can, on their own showing, deal with us and absolve us, even without their knowledge.
Again, says one of these often-quoted fathers of the Church, Ps. i., vol. v., p. 589
“ Confess your sins every day in prayer. Why should you hesitate to do so? I DO NOT TELL YOU TO GO AND CONFESS TO A MAN, SINNER AS YOU ARE, AND WHO MIGHT DESPISE YOU IF HE KNEW
BUT CONFESS THEM TO GOD, WHO CAN FORGIVE THEM TO YOU.”—St. CHRYSOSTOM.“ Before thee, O God, I pour out my sighs, and Thou alone art the witness ; there is no need of many words to confess ; sorrow and regret are the best confession.”—ST. BASIL's Commentary on Psalm xxxvii. - You need no witnesses of your Confession. Secretly acknowledge your sins, and let God ALONE HEAR YOU.”—De Penitentia, by St. CHRYSOSTOM, vol. iv., col. 901, quoted pp. 160 and 161 of CHINIQUY's Priest, etc.
Now the Bible says: “But why dost thou judge thy brother ? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. For it is written, "As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to Me and every TONGUE SHALL CONFESS TO GOD.' So then, every one of us shall give account of himself to God. Let us not, therefore, judge one another any more :
but judge this rather, that no man put a stumbling-block or an occasion to fall in his brother's way.”—Romans xiv. 10-13. “ For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; Who gave Himself a ransom for all.”—1 Tim. ï. 5 and 6. "It behoved Him to be made like unto His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. -Heb. ii. 17. “Wherefore, He is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by Him, seeing He ever liveth to make intercession for them.”—Heb. vii. 25.
Then clearly we must conclude from their own teachings that there can be no need for a priest, and as to regarding him as in the place of God, or as God's representative, listen to what the Apostles say, and surely the priests of modern times do not assert that they are holier than their predecessors ! “And as Peter was coming in, Cornelius met him and fell down at his feet and worshipped him. But Peter took him up, saying: Stand up; I myself also am a
1."--Acts x. 25, 26. “ Then the priest of Jupiter ..., would have done sacrifice with the people. Which, when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard of, they rent their clothes and ran in among the people, crying out and saying : Sirs, why do ye these things? We also are men of like passions with you, and preach unto you
should turn from these vanities unto the living God which made heaven and earth, and the sea and all things that are therein. . . . And with these sayings scarce restrained they the people that they had not done sacrifice unto them.”—Acts xiv. 13-18.
With regard to the sin of impurity, read what the Romish Saint Liguori says as a warning :
“If you desire to possess the purity which becomes the Spouse of Jesus Christ, you must cut off all dangerous occasion ; you must cherish a holy ignorance of all that is opposed to chastity, and abstain from reading whatever has the slightest tendency to sully the soul.” look, an endearing expression or a trifling gift often enkindlés a spark which soon becomes an infernal, a consuming fire.” -Spouse of Christ, pp. 18, 19.
But if one reads on, this is scarcely compatible with the following:
“But in a short time persons come to this, that they no longer act towards each other as angels as they commenced, but as those who are
clothed in flesh; they interchange looks and their minds are affected with soft expressions which still seem to proceed from the first devotion ; hence the one begins to long for the presence of the other, and thus the spiritual devotion is converted into carnal, and indeed, oh how many priests, who before were innocent on account of similar attractions which began in the spirit have lost both God and their soul.”—LIGUORI's Praxis Confessarii, p. 120. IV.
“In hearing the Confession of women and in discoursing with them, he ought to use that austerity which is in accordance with prudence, and moreover refuse gifts, avoid familiarity and all those other things which can be the cause of adhesion. O how many Confessors have lost their own souls and THOSE OF THEIR PENITENTS on account of some negligence in this respect.”—No. 193, Awful Disclosures, by R. P. BLAKENEY, pp. 263-4.
And this is what Ritualist parents are allowing their young daughters to be brought into contact with. Well, let us hear what the Romanist says as to what should be done to the priest :
“The priest who shall attempt to solicit or entice to the commission of dishonourable and base sins, either by words or signs, or nods, or touch, or by writing, then or afterwards to be read, any penitent whatever person she may be, either in the act of Sacramental Confession, or before, or immediately after Confession, or by the occasion, or pretext of Confession, or even without the occasion of Confession in the Confessional, or in any other place destined or chosen to hear Confessions, with the pretence of having Confessions there, or who shall have held with presumptuous audacity any unlawful or dishonourable conversation or intercourse with them, is ordered in the Bull of Benedict XIV., entitled 'Sacramentum Poenitentiæ,' to be suspended for ever; and the same Benedict XIV. decrees that priests so soliciting shall be for ever incapable of celebrating mass. - Auricular Confession, by WM. HOGAN, 4th Edition, p. 28.
As a fact, the question of clerical morals took the Vatican from January 2 ist to 31st, 1870, to discuss. They found it needed strict measures, but finally they left the priests in the same position of complete immunity.
Now one cannot but pause here to face the argument. If the Roman Church recognises the danger of Confession to both priest and penitent, how in the name of English common sense shall the Ritualist priest and penitent escape ? Is all their talk about the good of our souls hypocrisy ? Perhaps not all, but like the Romanist, there is an end and aim in all this servile obedience and humility, and the writer hopes to show it at the close of this chapter, but mean
while we must pass on to other converses. There is one quotation from Pardon Through the Precious Blood, p. II, to which it is but right to refer, which author refers the penitent to 2 Cor. ii. 10, to show the Apostle “ remits” what he had before “retained,” “to whom I forgave it for your sakes, forgave I it in THE PERSON OF Christ.” Thus they bring the poor deluded female to recognise them as in “ Christ's stead,” but if the margin of the Bible be observed, it gives “ IN THE SIGHT OF CHrist,” and St. Paul goes on to say in chap. iii. 6: “Who also hath made us able ministers of the New Testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit ; for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life," and again (ver. 17): “Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is there is liberty !” But unfortunately there is none, as shown herein, if once in the priest's dominion and power, behe Romanist or Ritualist.
Now let us see what the early fathers of the Church, so often quoted by the Ritualists, say with regard to crosses, etc.
“ Menucius Felix (Octavius XXIX.) says : 'Crosses, moreover, we neither worship nor wish for.' Origen (Cont. Cels., VIII. 17) says: “Though some say these objects are not their gods but imitations and symbols of real ones, nevertheless they are untaught, and slavish, and ignorant who imagine that the hands of low mechanics can fashion likenesses of Divinity!'. 'What sensible man imagines, by gazing on these natural things, he can ascend from the visible symbol to that which is spiritual and immaterial ?' (Cont. Cels., VII. 44.) Lactantius says (Div. Inst. II. 19): 'It is indisputable that, wherever there is an image there is no religion !'”—Plain Reasons against Joining the Church of Rome, by R. F. LITTLEDALE, p. 43.
Well may the priests be afraid that we should be educated and read, and search for ourselves ! Search what? To find the very writings they garble and quote for themselves likewise bear distinct admonitions to refrain from crucifixes and crosses, etc., and, finally, to crown all, the Bible says (Eph. ii. 13-16): “But now in Christ Jesus, ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. For He is our peace who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; (may not this be applied to the priest?). Having abolished in His flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances ;
for to make in Himself of twain one new man, so making peace.” This speaks for itself.
Turning to the subject of mortification and the “disciplines,” so often suggested, the Churchman's Guide to Faith and Piety rightly asks (p. 104, part II.):
“For what does He come?" and answers: “Not that He may deal with thee according to thy deserts, by delivering thee to tortures, (discipline), by casting thee into prison (convents)
but that after having received thee into His favour, He may load thee with new b.essings.
And further the Bible says anent fasting and celibacy : “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils; speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; FORBIDDING
AND COMMANDING TO ABSTAIN which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth”—1 Tim. iv. 1-3.
With regard to convents and their superiors, Liguori says :
“Her (the religious) superiors are not angels, BUT HUMAN BEINGS, who require to be made acquainted with what of themselves they cannot learn."— True Spouse of Christ, p. 191.
Would the reader kindly say how this teaching is to be made consistent with that on pp. 67, 122-5, that the Superior stands in the place of Christ, that her voice is that of Christ Jesus? The author fails to see how the contrary doctrine is to be believed, and which is the right
Superstition says the former; sense the latter, and is backed by the texts already quoted. Just another to shew what the same Saint says of the interior, and he ought to be an adept. Remember his writings are read and taught both in Romish and Anglican Convents.
“I have been accustomed 'to say that a religious, in her Convent, enjoys a foretaste of Paradise, or suffers an anticipation of hell. To endure the pains of hell, is to be separated from God, to be forced against the inclinations of nature, to do the will of others (i.e., give up one's parents and vow celibacy), to be distrusted, despised, reproved, and chastised by those with whom we live ; (this confirms Sister M. Agnes and Harriet Griffiths' story in the Norwood Nunnery, pp. 100-2 & 104), to be shut up in a place of confinement, from which it is impossible to escape :