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Pray remark," said Mrs. Gracelove," what the Church of Rome here commands her bishops and other ecclesiastics to teach on the subject of saint-worship :-/st. That the saints are reigning with Christ ;-2nd. That it is good and useful suppliantly to invoke them ;- 3rd. That they are to be in. voked mentally as well as orally; and that whoever presumes to think differently entertains impious sentiments.
“ This same 25th Session gives the following instruction with regard to relics : Those who affirm that veneration and honour are not due to the relics of the saints; or that it is useless for the faithful to honour them and other holy monuments; and that it is in vain to frequent their tombs for the sake of obtaining the help of the saints ; those persons are altogether to be condemned, and as the Church long since condemned them, so does she now condemn them.' In the same 25th session, it is said, 'that many benefits are conferred by these relics from God upon men.'
“ Observe, then," continued the faithful monitress, “ with respect to relics :- 1st. There is a kind of worship or veneration to be paid to them ;-2nd. Benefits from God are to be obtained through them ;- 3rd. The places where they are deposited (as the sepulchres and monuments of the saints) are to be religiously visited ;—4th. That those who say anything against this relic-worship, this working of miracles by relics, these pil. grimages to relics and tombs, where they may be found, are to be altogether condemned, and are actually by the Church condemned.
“ Thus, my dear Mrs. Sandford, you have here accurately extracted from the decree of the last general council of the Romish Church, the doctrine respecting the worship to be given to the souls of the saints reiyning in heaven, and to their bodies in a state of corruption in the earth. The angels do not worship the former, nor do the worms spare the latter, yet-Romanists are to worship both !*
# Vide Tract XVI. Ref. Soc.
'I will now give you," she continued, " two or three extracts from the Catechism of the Council of Trent, which, it is to be observed, is the Directory to the Romish Clergy as regards their instruction to the people. In that Catechism, part 4, is contained the following instruction on the subject of prayer :-* That the saints are to be prayed to, is a truth so firmly established in the Church of God, that the pious mind cannot experience a shadow of doubt on the subject.' In the same page, prayer to the Virgin is thus taught:- To this form of thanksgiving, the Church of God has wisely added prayers to, and an invocation of, the most Holy Mother of God; by which we piously and suppliantly may fly to her, that by her intercession she may conciliate God to us miserable sinners, and obtain for us the blessings which we want for this life and the life to come.'
“ In the chapter on prayer, whence these extracts taken, the reader is referred to another part of the same Catechism, with regard to the first commandment, and where we find the following passage - In the exposition of this precept, the faithful are also to be accurately taught, that the veneration and invocation of angels, and saints, and happy souls, who enjoy the glory of heaven ; and the worship (cultum) which the Catholic Church has always paid even to the bodies and ashes of the saints, are not forbidden by this commandment.'
“ Some of these expressions," interrupted Mrs. Sandford, " are rather startling, I allow. But ought they not to be taken in a purely figurative sense, without resting on the merely literal import? I beg pardon, however, for the interruption," she added, “ as I think it will be better to listen patiently to all your references, and extracts from Romish books, before I venture on giving my opinion."
“ Unless language be altogether figurative,” replied her
friend,“ divested of all substantial meaning and reality, these phrases and declarations must signify what the terms imply, and nothing else. When a man speaks of a 'horse-chestnut,'”. she said, with a good-natured smile, “we are not to understand him to mean a' chestnut-horse.' The only other alternative would be, to suppose that he did not know what he was saying ; 'but, like the Cumæan Sybil of old, uttered his crude ideas in all the raving wildness of a disordered imagination.
“ But,” she continued, “I will proceed with my task ; and we can discuss the points afterwards, should you think it necessary. I will now give you some striking specimens of prayers to saints, extracted from Roman Catholic books of devotion.
In the last edition of the Breviary, published at Lyons in 1816, we read as follows :
—0 most pious Virgin Mary, remember that it has never been heard that any one running to thy protection, imploring thy help, seeking thy suffrages, has been forsaken: I, animated by this confidence, run to thee, O Virgin Mother of virgins; I come to thee, before thee I stand a groaning sinner. O Mother of the Word, do not despise my words, but propitious hear and grant. Amen.' Again :'O my holy Lady Mary, I commit myself unto thy blessed faithfulness and singular guardianship, and unto the bosom of thy compassion; I commend
I commend my soul and my body to thee to-day, —and every day—and at the hour of my death; I commit all my hope and consolation, all my distresses and miseries, my life and the end of my life, unto thee; that by thy must holy intercession, and by thy merits, all my works may be directed and disposed according to thine and thy Son's will; by thy most holy virginity and immaculate conception, O Virgin most pure, cleanse
flesh. In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.' *
* Office of the Immaculate Conception, B. M. V. Roman Breviary, part Vernal, p. 640.
" Again, in the same book, we find this most unscriptural prayer : ' blessed Mary, who can adequately pay the debt of gratitude, and the meed of praise, to thee who by thy wonderful assent didst help a ruined world ?' What praises shall the frailty of the human race pay to thee, who by thy sole agreement, didst find out the way of recovering it? Receive thou our empty thanksgivings, disproportioned to thy merits; and when thou hast received our vows, obtuin pardon for our sins by thy prayers. Admit our prayers within the sanctuary of audience, and bring back to us the remedy of reconciliation.'
“We read, again, the following: 'Let what we offer through thee be pardonable by thee ; let that be obtainable which we entreat with believing minds. Receive what we offer, bestow what we ask, pardon what we fear, because thou art the only hope of sinners. Through thee we hope for the pardon of our sins; and in thee, most blessed one, is the expectation of our rewards. Holy Mary, relieve the miserable, help the weak, comfort the mourners; pray for the people, interpose for the clergy, intercede for the troubled female sex. Let all feel thy help, as many as celebrate thy conception.'*
“ And now," said Mrs. Gracelove, “I will read you an extract from a Roman Catholic book, entitled the ' Devotion and Office of the Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ, with its Nature, Origin, Progress, &c., including the Devotions to the Sacred Heart of Mary, &c., and the Indult of His Holiness Pope Pius VII. in favour of it; for the use of the Midland District. London, printed and sold by Keating and Brown, Duke Street, Grosvenor Square. 1821.'
“* Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Mary.
“ SECTION I.
As the adorable heart of Jesus was formed in the chaste
* Rom. Brev, at the Feast of Conception, B. V. M. Dec. 8th.
womb of the blessed Virgin, and of her blood and substance, so we cannot, in a more proper and agreeable manner, show our devotion to the sacred heart of the Son, than by dedicating some part of the said devotion to the ever pure heart of the Mother. For you have two hearts here united in the most strict alliance and tender conformity of sentiments; so that, 'tis not in nature to please the one, without making yourself agreeable to the other, and acceptable to both. Go, then, de vout client, go to the heart of Jesus, BUT LET YOUR WAY BE THROUGH THE HEART OF MARY. The sword of grief which pierced her soul, opens you a passage; enter by the wound love has made : advance to the heart of Jesus, and rest there even to death itself. Presume not to separate and divide two objects so intimately one, or united together ; but ask redress in all your exigences from the heart of Jesus, and ask this redress through the heart of Mary.'
“This form and method of worship is the doctrine and the very spirit of God's church ; it is what she teaches us in the unanimous voice and practice of the faithful ; who will by no means that Jesus and Mary should be separated from each other in our prayers, praises, and affections. This consideration has engaged the sovereign Pontiffs, and head Pastors of the church, to give the self-same sanction to the pious practices instituted in honour of the sacred heart of Mary, as they give to those of the adorable heart of Jesus; both within their
They both have equally their feasts and solemnities; both their associations; and those, too, equally enriched with the treasures of the church, under the liberal dispensations of its governors. Many are the pious and virtuous souls who have drawn most signal fruit and advantage from their devotions.
“«Come, then, hardened and inveterate sinner, how great soever your be ! Come and behold !