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pists that this is a principle of their church, and they are now very solicitous to do away such an impression from the minds of the
peo ple But while they thus profess (in direct opposition to the principles of their church, as we shall show) to be favorable to the general circulation of the scripture_they in fact prevent it all they can, —and indeed to be consistent with themselves they must prevent it, for they are forbidden under a heavy penalty, as we shall hereafter show, to understand the scriptures differently from the church. But can this be prevented if the scriptures are to be put into the hands of every body, unless they surrender their reason and judgment and sense up to the priest? and if this surrender be made, is it not a farce to put the Bible into their hands? What object can they possibly have in reading it—if they are not to use their reason and sense, which God has given them for the purpose, in endeavoring to understand it? You might as well give to the people the Latin vulgate at
Prefixed to the spurious copy of the Doway Bible, I find a letter purporting to be from Pius the sixth to Anthony Martini, now archbishop of Florence, on his translation of the Bible into Italian.Whether this letter be a forgery or not, I cant say—but this I can say—that the following passage in it is in direct opposition to an order of the council of Trent_“For these (the Scriptures) are the most abundant sources which ought to be left open to EVERY ONE, to draw from them purity of morals and of doctrine to eradicate the errors which are so widely disseminated in these corrupt times: This you have reasonably effected, as you declare, by publishing the sacred writing in the language of your country, suitable to every one's capacity.” In the “admonition” immediately above this letter on the same page is the following sentence; “To prevent and remedy this abuse (the unlearned wresting the scriptures to their perdition) and to guard against error, it was judged necessary to forbid the reading of the Scriptures in the vulgar languages, without the advice and permission of the pastors and Spiritual Guides whom God has appointed to govern his church.” Here we see it is the Pope's opinion that the scriptures should be open to EVERY ONE. But in the “admonition” —which agrees with the council of Trent, as we shall presently see, it is said to be necessary to withhold them from some. This is a specimen of popish inconsistency.—But the whole secret of the matter is this Popish priests are commanded to withhold the Bible from some, and they are privileged by the church to withold it from all-if they choose to consider them unworthy, or in danger of being hurt by it--so that while they boast of and make a great noise about their right of permitting the scriptures to be read—they really practice on the privilege of withholding from all they possibly can. Therefore when a papist denies that his church forbids the reading of the scriptures he is to be understood as saying—that the church does not absolutely and unconditionally forbid it, but she does forbid some, and she gives the priest power to grant permission to read, to others. And who could ask a greater restriction to the privilege of reading the Bible than this ? Is it not left to the option of every priest whether the
Scriptures shall be read in his parish or not? Is it not taking away the right of reading them altogether from the people ? Most assuredly it is and this is our complaint. The people's right religious as well as civil should ever be respected. This much we would say as patriots--but as christians we would say more--we would say—let manicles be put on their hands and feet-but give them the liberty of conscience-strip them of their clothing and deprive them of their shelter and extort from them their last, hard earned pittance—but give them the last will and testament of their Lord and Master in which is bequeathed to all who will accept of it—a rich inheritance in the skies. Oh, keep not from them the written reprieve from that righteous Governor, by whose Law they stand condemred. It is their legacy-and it is the charter of their dearest and most sacred rights.
That which we have stated to be a principle of the Romish Church, we shall now endeavor to make appear from their own words. The decrees of the Council, especially of that of Trent, every priest on his admission to Holy orders, binds himself to believe and defend. Now what says the infallible church on the subject before us? The fourth rule of the index libr. prohibit. made in pursuance of the order of the Council of Trent and published by Pius IV
ruins thus“Since it is manifested by experience, that if the Holy Bible be promiscuously permitted in the vul ar tongue, by reason of the rashness of men, more loss than profit will thence arise. In this matter let the judgment of the Bishop or Inquisition be stood to, that with the advice of the Parish priest or confessor, they may grant the reading of the Bible in the vulgar tongue, translated by Catholic authors, to such as they shall understand, can receive no hurt by such reading, but increase of faith and piety-which faculty let them have in writing. But he that without such faculty shall presume to read, or to have the Bible, he may not receive absolution of his sins, except he first deliver up his Bible to the ordinary.”. Here we have the church's own words s--we care not what a Romish priest may say on this subject. We have the words of the church, and we can judge of their meaning as well as he can, tho' he denys it-yet these very words of the church contradict him.
Monsieur de Maire, Counsellor Almoner and Preacher to the King of France, in a book published by authority-says; “this rule is founded in ecclesiastical right and no man can transgress it, without contradicting that obedience which he owes to the church and the Holy See from which it hath received its confirmation. For as much as this rule was not made .but in prosecution of the decree of the council of Trent, &c. No man can deny but that it hath been approved by the Holy See, and authorized by the bulls of Pius IV, and Clement VIII, who, after they had viewed and diligently examined it, published it to the world, with order that it should be obeyed”“If there be any thing (continues de Maire) that can hinder this rule from having the force of a law, it must be either, because it has not been published, or being published has not been received; but neither the one nor the other can be said, since it is evident that this is the
old quarrel we have with our heretics ; this is that which our church has always been upbraided with by the enemies of the faith ; this is that which is the subject of their most outrageous calumpies--this is that which has been acknowledged by all wise men—that which has been earnestly maintained by all the defenders of Catholic truth, that which no person is ignorant of, that which the whole world publishes; there being no point of belief more common, nor more general among the faithful, than this of the prohibition to read thc Bible without permission and this belief (says he) so common, is a certain proof, not only of the publication but of the reception of this rule”—(vide, Le Sanctuaire firme aux Profanes-part 2 c. 1. p. 335. 326.) This prohibition, then, to read the Bible without permission is in force now. It is an infallible decree and must forever be in force—who has repealed it ? what council of equal authority has set it aside? The Spanish Expurgatory Index goes still farther. It prohibits the Bible in the vulgar tongue--not only printed—but in M. S. S. with »ut any provision for permission.
Alfonsus de Castro (advers. Hoeres. Liber. 1. c. 13.) says that Ferdinand King of Spain-forbade any man under the heaviest penalties, to translate the Bible into the vulgar tongue, or to keep any Bible in his hands already translated, and in the index of Pope Alexander VII, not only these Bibles that are translated and printed by heretics; but all Bibles in any vulgar tongue are prohibited. It would therefore be ridiculous to talk of a license in Spain, because the Bible itself is not there permitted in the vulgar tongue, and all that is permitted in other countries is, that a man may read the Holy Scriptures in case he can get a license for it. The council of Trent as we see, above declare that a vulgar translation of the Scriptures would occasion more harm than good.—But what harm have the Scriptures ever caused ? Let Romanists answer this question and substantiate their answer with facts. They say it breeds heresies--the scriptures do indeed breed heresy—but it is just as the Law of God breeds sin —by ferreting it out-dragging it from its secret dens--exposing it to the world and charging it home with powerful conviction on the consciences of men- When the Law came, says Paul, sin revived and I died--when the scriptures came says the Romanists, popish superstitions and abomination came to light--and the beast must die. -İræneus says ignorance of the word of God is the cause of all these heresies.
Romanists boldly deny that their church withholds the scriptures - but they say she expressly permits them to be read. But to whom is this permission granted—is it to all men indifferently? Is it granted to all who ask it? No_but to those only who they know can receive no hurt from them; that is those who are not in danger of preferring their own sense before that which they receive from the priests and the church. And is it probable that such would even ask permission ? For, why should they desire to read the scriptures, who have already determined, right or wrong, to believe just as the priests bid them ? And if others ask it, they will be immediately suspected to be of the number of those who are in the greatest danger of re
ceiving hurt from the scriptures : so that the great noise that is made about permission, to read them is all a sham—since those who would be most likely to obtain permission, are the least likely to ask it and those who most desire it-least likely to obtain it.
At the reformation, it was found impossible to keep the Bible out of the hands of the common people and their refusing absolution of sins to those who refused to deliver up their Bible3 to the ordinary, was a device of the clergy to get the Bible again into their hands. This is plain from the addition to the fourth rule of the Trent Expurgatory index, made by Clement VIII when a new edition was published viz. “That by this impression or addition, no new faculty is given to Bishops, or Inquisitors, or any superiors or regulars to grant a license of buying, reading or retaining the Bible in the vulgar tongue; since hitherto by the command and usage of the Holy Roman and Universal Inquisition, that faculty of granting such licences of reading or retaining the vulgar Bibles or any parts of the Holy Scriptures, as well of the New as the Old Testament, in any vulyar tongue has been taken from them which, says Clement, is to be inviolably observed.” If then this power, forinerly given, of granting licenses, be taken away, and no new power of granting them be given; it necessarily follows-that there is now no such thing as the power of granting permission to read the Bible, or had there been such power before this new addition of the rule, yet it was then taken away by the Pope in decreeing that the command and usage of the Holy Inquisition was to be inviolably observed. And lest some should have the presumption to read the Bible notwithstanding the penalty-the Booksellers who shall dispose of them to such, besides the loss of the price of the books, are liable to be punished at the Bishop's pleasure.
Having now seen the rule of the Council of Trent on this subject --and the Pope's addition to it. Let us look at the language of a Romish work of high authority—and see if it does not coincide (as indeed it should) with the infallible dictum of the Council.
The Rhenish Translators of the New Testament say in their preface, that their church has “neither of old, nor of late, even wholly condemned all vulgar versions of scripture, nor have at any time generally forbidden the faithful to read the same; yet they have not by public authority prescribed, commanded, or authentically ever recommended any such (i.e. vulgar) interpretation to be indifferently used of all men." What do these writers mean by saying their church has not generally forbidden the faithful to read the scriptures? They must mean either that the church has not forbidden it at all times or that she has not forbidden all persons ;-but either way it condemns them, for the Bible should be read at all times and by all persons. Besides their never having commanded or even recommended a vulgar translation to be read by the people—is the neglect of a manifest duty, if it be the people's privilege to read the Bible. It looks very much like keeping the sacred volume out of the hands of the people. A little further on, the translators say “which causeth the Holy church not to forbid utterly any catholic translation, though she allow not the publishing or reading of any, absolutely and without exception or limitation.". The expression "utterly” here, is explained by the power of granting licences to read, which we have considered. A little further on they say, “and therefore neither generally permitteth that which must needs do hurt to the unworthy, nor absolutely condemneth that which may do much good to the worthy.” Here we see what they mean by “generally forbidding.”—It is that they do not absolutely forbid it, but will in some cases permit it.
The translators then go on to give the substance of the order of the Council of Trent, which we have noticed above, they highly approve of it, and say it is what “many a wise man wished for before.” They then go on to say that the governors of the church guided by God's spirit, and experiencing the maladies of this time (soon after the reformation) have taken more exact order both for the readers and translators of these latter ages than of old; yet, say they, “we must not imagine that the translated Bibles in the vulgar tongues were in the hands of every husbandman, artificer, prentice, boys, girls, mistresses, maid man, &c. no-in those better times men were neither so ill, nor so curious of themselves so to abuse the blessed book of Christ.”. Here, then we see it is considered by Papists an abuse of the Bible for farmers, mechanics, children and servants to read it. They are not fit to read it, and they have no business with it! What shall we say to this? It is plain language—but it is their own_farmers, mechanics, will you submit to it? Will you give up your senses, your Bibles—your souls and your children's souls, to popish Priests? Will you calmly and without a murmur of disapprobation, witness the spread of sent ments like these? What if Papists endeavor to deceive you by denying these to be the principles and sentiments of their church? Have you not the decree of their infallible council ? Have you not the orders and bulls of their Popes, and have you not the language of their writers? And are you not able to judge for yourselves ? Can you not understand commands and prohibitions, when clothed in plain language, as well as artful Priests? Need you be told that the principles of their church never change? Need you be told that it is the policy of Papists to disown those principles when they are unpopular-unsuited to the feelings and opposed to the better knowledge of a free people ?
“The wise” continue the translators “will not here regard what some wilful people do mutter, that the scriptures are made for all men, & that it is envy that the priests do keep the holy book from them, which suggestion cometh of the same serpent that seduced our first parents, &c.” Here is a candid confession that the scriptures are not made for all men and the Priests do keep the holy book from the people, and that the idea of its being wrong, is from the Devil! What will Papists say to this? They then say that their church “forbiddeth not the reading of them (the scriptures) in any language
* * * * but giveth order how to do it without casting the holy to dogs, or pearls to hogs, (Chrysostom declaring these dogs and hogs to be carnal men and heretics.) * * She would have the presumptuous heretic, notwithstanding he alledge them never so fast--flying as it were