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"THE SEVENTH COMMANDMENT.” “Have I read any immoral books, knowing them to be such ? Have I wished to do so ? Have I kept bad company, or sought the society of bad companions? Have I been curious or anxious to know things about which it was wrong to inquire? Have I willingly listened to im. proper talk ? Have I been immodest or indecent in the presence of others ? Have I heard improper or immodest language or witnessed any indecent conduct without telling my instructors of the same? Have I joined in any such behaviour ? Have I said words of double meaning ; that is, have I said that which in one way might be taken in a bad sense ? Have I been immodest in dressing or undressing myself ? Have I written anything in books or elsewhere that was wrong or indecent? or have I made any indecent pictures or drawings ? Have I said or done anything indecent, and taken pleasure in so doing? Have I ever willingly thought of anything improper or indecent, or wished to speak of such when an opportunity might offer itself? Have I given way to impure THOUGHTS,* FEELINGS, OR MOTIONS, nay, even in Church, or during my meditations, or at prayers, have I taken pleasure in them?" etc. - Prayer Book for the Young, edited by Chas. WALKER, 2nd ed., 1868, pp. 285-286.
This is examination for Confession, for, perhaps, a boy of ten! God forbid ! for says the same author :
“ Listen attentively to the advice the Priest gives you ; he speaks to you in the Person of Jesus Christ ; and accept with humility the penance he gives you to perform.” – Ibid., p. 299. Also, “ When you see the Priest go up to the Altar imagine you see Christ HIMSELF ENTERING THE SUPPER ROOM, BOW YOURSELF DOWN," etc.— Ibid., p. 95.
It is wise to hit with the weapon aimed against one; therefore listen, () priest, to thine own voice:
“None but a downright villain would ever wilfully try to taint the PURITY of any SOUL ANYWHERE.”—Hints to Penitents, p. 67.
Where again is thy consistency, O “villain "? It is thy word not mine! when thou puttest such thoughts and such knowledge into the hearts and heads of our dear
* This amounts to insanity from a legal point, for Lord Hannen, in a celebrated probate case (Dew v. Clarkj adduced as an act of unsound mind in the testator, his having required his daughter to write out and declare to him her 'THOUGHTS. This, Lord Hannen laid down, can only be done to God alone ! Under this lucid and common-sense judgment it follows legally that all Romanist and Ritualist priests are insane to demand an account of their penitents' thoughts; but insanity might be more fitly ascribed to those who foolishly and blindly place their consciences in the hands of the priesthood.
innocent ones, Christ's especial chosen. So like thy Master, we do Christ himself,” but veiled in an odious form, to which with all our might we cry, Avaunt, avaunt !
In ending, it is a prosaic fact that in 1877 no less than fifty seven clergymen of the Church of England were propagating more or less these doctrines, as masters in schools or colleges, or being associated with boys. Nine were members of the Society of the Holy Cross, the fulminators of the Priest in Absolution and its obscene questions, and thirteen of them signed the notorious petition to be selected and licensed as duly qualified confessors. Of course, everyone knows that the number of cases has enormously increased. So bad since then have the sins against morality of the clergy become as to necessitate a Bill to discipline them”; but no amount of “discipline” will ever cure them while the Confessional is in vogue, and while silly females flock to it as their “ fair penitents.” These were the figures fourteen years ago, when Ritualism was an infant in long clothes; it is now more than a boy, getting near its manhood. We halt between two stools. Ritualism as Romanism in disguise, or connection with the Pope and Romanism outright. Take care that Ritualism now grown, and growing fast, the counterpart of Rome, does not stretch out its arms when least we expect it, and, having undermined Protestantism, take us to its breast, and when it has, vampire-like, drained the juice of our freedom of conscience, and, above all, the privacy of our sacred home life, turn aside, and cast the carcase on to the fangs of the Romish sacerdotal tyrants. O then, again I say. Women of England, by the love of your homes, of your husbands, and, O Mothers, above all, by the love of your children, once and for ever cast off the priest and his Confessional, and return to your “ Father, which is in Heaven !”
CHAPTER I V.
Penances - Roman and Anglican.
MORTIFICATIONS and penances forming a part of the Confessional and the so-called “higher life” in Christ, perhaps a little enlightenment of the teaching on these subjects may be advantageous. In all the religious pamphlets no author seems to have touched on this subject, in the sense that there may be modern St. Elizabeths of Hungary, whose renunciations are likewise performed in the presence of the priests, at least if the extracts given here are to be believed ; and it is contended, considering the character of some of the clergy of the Church of England, and the close copying of the Roman uses by the Ritualist, that it is not unnecessary, or out of place to sound the tocsin of alarm on this point. At any rate, the woman or girl who imbibes and submits 10 the teaching and dogmas therein displayed runs great risk, in her fancied humility, and crouching obedience to the pri st as “God's representative," of yielding herself as submissively as her Roman sisters have done, or their prototype St. Elizabeth.
Let it be noted, Confession always entails a penance; it is asked for :
“I most humbly ask pardon of God; and of you, my Ghostly Father, penance, counsel and absolution."* And its not being given is according to the whim of the priest.
Another fact should demand attention, especially with regard to sisterhoods, namely, the cruelty of the penances. Is God a Moloch or Juggernaut, forsooth, that He should
“Form of Confession,” Pardon Through, etc., p. 36.
require us to inflict such excruciating pain upon ourselves to please Him? Wherein lies the difference between the Christian nun with her “discipline,” and the Hindoo fakir with spiked bed for self-torture? Are we still pagans? Where is our boasted nineteenth century cultivation and elevation, when, like the priests of Baal, our convent sisters should lacerate themselves, or be lacerated, to please their God ? Surely, it makes one anything but a Christian to see the followers of Christ acting in their fanaticism precisely as the contemned heathens have done and still do from precisely the same belief, namely, that self-torture appeases the anger of their god and renders them fit for a hereafter, for :
“A soul which suffers nothing and is resolved to suffer nothing, has the strongest mark of a reprobate. We must either suffer in this world or in the next.”—On Mortification, Churchman's Guide to Faith and Piety, part I., p. 157.
“Fasting for mortification must be in long and enduring austerities, not violent but gradually increasing. It is not an act, but a state of fasting, that must cast out the demon of concupiscence with perpetual temperance and habitual subtraction of nourishment from the body.” Ibid., part II., p. 303.
“The Lenten rule of a portion of the Western Church may be a guide to some, while to others it may be more than they can bear with a climate like ours.
“1. Flesh meat is allowed at the single meal of those who are bound to fast, and at the discretion of those who are not so bound, on all days except Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, and Ember Saturdays and the last four days in Holy Week. On Sundays, even those who are bound to fast, may eat flesh meat at their discretion.
“2. Eggs are allowed at the single meal of those who are bound to fast, and at the discretion of those who are not so bound, on all days except Ash Wednesday and the three last days in Holy Week.
* 3. Cheese, under the same restrictions, allowed on all days except Ash Wednesday and Good Friday.
4. The use of dripping and lard is permitted at dinner and collation on all days except Good Friday.” “On those days, Sunday included, whereon flesh meat is allowed, fish is not permitte i at the same meal.” “All who have completed 21 years ARE OBLIGED to observe the Fasts.”. – Ibid., pp. 304, 305.
“ Have I, knowingly, eaten meat on Fridays or abstinence days without leave from my Confessor? Children, above seven, are obliged to abstain from meat on those days, UNLESS THEY HAVE THE EXPRESS
If they are weak, or in a school or other situation where such a custom would create scandal or attention, such
LEAVE OF THEIR PASTOR.
leave will be readily given :* BUT NO ONE MUST TAKE THE LEAVE FOR GRANTED, BUT MAKE THE CIRCUMSTANCES KNOWN TO THE PRIEST. - Prayer Book for the Young, p. 290.
The folly of the quotation last but one, and the wickedness of the last, are beyond expression. It only shows to
* This appears like Liguori's sophistry anent concealing one's faith, on which he says in his Second Book, First Treatise, Ch. Ifl.:-"Interim vero, etsi licitum non est mentiri, seu simulare quod non est, licet tamen dissimulare quod est, sive tegere veritatem verbis aliisve signis ambiguis et indifferentibus, ob justam causam, et cum non est necessitas fatendi.' That is :-“ In the meanwhile, indeed, though it is not lawful to lie, or to feign what is not, HOWEVER IT IS LAWFUL TO DISSEMBLE WHAT IS, OR TO COVER THE TRUTH WITH WORDS or other ambiguous and doubtful signs, for a just cause and when there is not a necessity of confessing.
.” “Unde si sic possit molesta inquisitione liberari, licet ut habet generatum enim verum non est, quod interrogatus ab auctoritate publicâ teneatur positive fidem profiteri nisi quando id necessarium est, ne præsentibus videatur fidem negâsse," or, "Whence, if thus he may be able to deliver himself from a troublesome investigation, it is LAWFUL; for generally, it is not true that he who is interrogated by public authority is positively bound to confess the faith.” [Christ said, “Whosoever shall deny Me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven,” Matt. x. 33. Verily, Christ's Apostolic successors obey His commands !) Again, “Cum non rogaris de fide, non solum licet, sed sæpe melius est ad Dei honorem, et utilitatem, proximi tegere fidem quam fateri : ut si latens inter hæreticos plus boni facias; Which is : When you are not asked concerning the faith, not only is it lawful, but often more conducive to the glory of God and the utility of your neighbours to cover the faith than to confess it ; for example, IF CONCEALED AMONG HERETICs you may accomplish a greater amount of good,” (viz., con. verts at any price: ! On the subject of oaths, Saint (or more properly Saint-an) Liguori, allows equivocation on oath for a just cause, and without a just cause, and sums it up] : “ His positis certum est et commune apud omnes, quod ex justâ causâ licitum sit uti æquivoca. tione modis expositis et cum juramento firmare. “ These things being established it is a certain and common opinion amongst all divines THAT FOR A JUST CAUSE IT IS LAWFUL TO USE EQUIVOCATION in the propounded modes AND TO CONFIRM IT (equivocation) WITH AN OATH," (while swearing with equivocation without a just cause is only a venial sin, coming, of course, as before mentioned, in the category of murder, lust, adultery, etc., all, as the reader has seen, only venial sins !!] Still another .. Qui juravit judici se dicturum quæ novit non tenetur revelare occulta.” “ HE WHO HATH SWORN TO A JUDGE THAT HE WOULD SPEAK WHAT HE KNEW, IS NOT BOUND TO REVEAL CONCEALED THINGS. “Qui eligendus est in officium, interrogatus an habeat aliquod impedimentum, potest negare, si reverâ illud non sit tale quod impediat.” That is, He who is chosen to fill an office