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STRETCHES OUT HER HAND, OPENS HER BREAST TO RECEIVE YOU; though insensible to the great concerns of your salvation, though unfortunately proof against the most engaging invitations and inspiration of the Holy Ghost, FLING YOURSELF AT THE FEET of this powerful advocate. Her throne, though so exalted, has nothing forbidding, nothing dreadful; her heart is all love and tenderness.'
"Act of Consecration to the Sacred Heart of Mary.
O holy mother of God, glorious queen of heaven and earth! I choose thee this day for my Mother, my Queen, and my Advocate, at the throne of thy Divine Son.'
“At page 205 are given various salutations and benedictions to the honour of our blessed Lady,' among which are the following:
'Hail, Mary, Lady and Mistress of the world, to whom all power has been given both in heaven and earth.
Hail, Mary, Queen of my Heart, my Mother, my sweetness, and my love.'
“ Listen to the following, my dear friend,” said Mrs. Gracelove, “and doubt, if you can, after all that has preceded it, whether the Roman Catholic Church be an idolatrous church. Indeed, in this passage, as in many others, the more awful charge of blasphemy might be preferred. “It is entitled, 'An Angelical Exercise.'
" • FRIDAY. “ I reverence you, O sacred Virgin Mary, the holy ark of the covenant; and together with all the good thoughts of all good men upon earth, and all the blessed spirits in heaven, do bless and praise you infinitely, for that you are THE GREAT MEDIATRIX BETWEEN GOD AND MAN, OBTAINING FOR SINNERS ALL THEY CAN ASK, OR DEMAND, OF THE BLESSED TRINITY. Hail Mary!'
“I shall again astound your ears, as I cannot but believe I have done already, said the missionary guest to her half, if not wholly convinced hostess, by reading the following extract from a work entitled The Glories of Mary,' in great request and estimation among Roman Catholics.—Fifth edition, printed by Coyne, Dublin, and originally composed by Liguori, who was canonized on the 26th May, 1839, by Pope Gregory XVI.
Mary is, then, queen of the universe, since Jesus is its King. Thus, as St. Bernardine again observes, as many creatures as obey God, so many obey the glorious Virgin : every thing in heaven and earth, which is subject to God, is also under the empire of his most holy mother.' (p. 28.)
' Pity us, then, queen of mercy, and think of our salvation. Say not (that I may use the expression of St. Gregory of Nicomedia) that our sins render us unworthy of your aid, for your clemency surpasses our malice. Nothing resists your power, because the Creator of all honours you as his Mother, regarding your glory as his own. Mary owes her Son an infinite debt of gratitude, for choosing her for his mother, but it is not less true to say—THAT JESUS CHRIST HAS CONTRACTED A SPECIES OF OBLIGATION TOWARDS HER, FOR THE HUMAN EXISTENCE HE RECEIVED FROM HER, and in return for this benefit he honours her by hearing her prayers.' (p. 34.)
Especially mark this,” said our friend,—“The omnipotent God considered a debtor to the creature of His own hand! -sinful dust and ashes !—But to proceed
“ 'Let us go, then, Christians, let us go to this most gracious Queen, and crowd around her throne, without being deterred by our crimes and abominations. Let us be convinced, that if Mary has been crowned Queen of mercy, it is in order that the greatest sinners, who recommend themselves to her prayers, may be saved by her intercession and form her crown in heaven. (p. 35.)
Queen of heaven and earth! Mother of God! My Sovereign Mistress! I present myself before you as a poor mendicant before a mighty queen. From the height of your throne, deign to cast your eyes on a miserable sinner, and lose not sight of him till, by your prayers, you render him truly holy.
“O illustrious Virgin! You are Queen of the universe, and consequently mine; I desire, then, to consecrate myself more particularly to your service. Dispose of me according to your good pleasure ; direct me; I abandon myself wholly to your guidance ; never more let me be guided by myself; chastise me if I disobey you; your correction will be sweet and agreeable. I am, then, no longer mine, I am yours : Save me, O powerful Queen, save me by your intercession with your Son.' (p. 38.)
“We read in the second Book of Kings, that a woman of Thecua (and she is praised for her wisdom) having once presented herself before David, said : My Lord, I had two sons, both quarrelled, and one of them killed the other; the officers of justice have seized on the former, and after having lost one, I see myself on the point of losing the other ; have pity on me, and do not permit them to take his life. David, being greatly affected, caused the aggressor to be set at large. This is precisely Mary's language to the Sovereign Judge, when she sees him irritated against sinners, who fly to her for protection. “Lord,” does she say, "I had two sons, Jesus and man: man nailed Jesus to the cross, justice loudly demands vengeance-can you deprive me of the second, after I have already lost the first ? Ah, no, certainly God will not condemn the sinner who has recourse to Mary, and for whom she prays. Having given her to him for mother, he is quite willing she should exercise the duties of a parent, and this she does with a goodness, fidelity, and love, that cannot be expressed. Let every sinner, then, address himself to this
blessed Virgin, in those words of St. Bonaventure : 0, my Mother and Patroness! my sins render me unworthy of approaching you. I should expect nothing but chastisement from your hands; but though you were to deprive me even of life, I will never lose confidence in your intercession. I place in you all confidence, and, provided I may be happy enough to DIE BEFORE YOUR IMAGE, and implore your mercy, I shall firmly hope to join in heaven that innumerable multitude who have been saved by yonr intercession.' (p. 92.)
‘Holy Virgin, my amiable mistress and mother, I tenderly love you; and, because I love you, your name is dear to me. I resolve to invoke it during life, and, above all, at the hour of death. For the glory of your name, I will say to you in the affecting sentiments of St. Bonaventure :-“When my soul departs from my body, graciously come forth to meet and receive it ; do not refuse, O Mary, to console it by your sweet presence : be its ladder and its way to ascend to heaven. In fine, obtain for it pardon and eternal rest.' (p. 262.)
“ O Jesus ! O Mary! May your names live in my heart, and in the hearts of all men! May I forget all other names, in order to remember your admirable names alone ! O Jesus, my Redeemer! O Mary, my Mother! when my last hour shall come, when my soul shall be at the eve of its departure from the world, grant, I beseech you, that my last words may be Jesus—Mary! I love you Jesus ! Mary! I give you my heart and my soul. Amen.' (p. 263.)
“And now, my dear Mrs. Sandford,” inquired her guest, “is all that I have just read to you, or indeed any portion of it whatever, to be understood, as you seemed inclined to express it, ‘in a purely figurative sense ?' Is that which is here addressed to the Virgin any thing but the most unequivocal, undisguised, and downright idolatry ? Or can any sophistry, however subtle, on the part of Roman Catholics, explain away such impassioned language, such fervent prayers, addresses, and supplications, derived from their own devotional works, as not intending or meaning an idolatrous worship of her ? "
“I feel quite unable to make any reply,” answered the lady of the house with a tremulous voice, " after what I have just heard. But pray proceed with your illustrations.”
“ The following specimen of idol-worship, and something very much worse,” observed our friend, “is extracted from a work composed by a Roman Catholic priest, entitled, “A portrait of the admirable Joseph.' - Dublin, 1838.
"O most desirable Jesus! O most amiable Mary! O most dear Joseph ! O Holy Trinity. (p. 35.)
"O Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, most blessed Trinity, bless me with the triple benediction of the most holy Lord.'
“ Such revolting blasphemy, for what else can it be termed ? occurs in a variety of places in the book just cited. “ But let us now turn, for a moment, to the pope
himself, the infallible head of the Romish Church, as declared by its votaries. At the close of the Encyclical letter of Gregory XVI. promulgated in 1832, we find the sovereign pontiff thus expressing himself
“'That all may have a successful and happy issue, let us raise our eyes to the most blessed Virgin, who alone destroys heresies, who is our greatest hope, yea, the entire ground of our hope.
“ Thus, then, if it should be affirmed by Romanists, or by their brethren in disguise, that the statements of inferior ecclesiastics do not represent the doctrines of their church, we have his · Holiness' himself at once settling the question as to the idolatrous, pre-eminent, and almost exclusive worship of the Virgin Mary, in whom all trust and dependence is placed.
“ The Rev. and learned Dr. Cumming, in his ‘Lectures for the Times,'" continued Mrs. Gracelove," has given the following copy of the Lord's prayer, addressed to the Virgin Mary,