« ÎnapoiContinuați »
It was the practice of exacting what is called clay-money. Before venturing to assail the strong-hold of the mass, he tried his strength on this outpost of superstition, and here found an avenue to the understandings and feelings of the people. When this exaction originated, he knew not ; but he presumed that it formed one of the means by which the Irish priests have contrived to reimburse themselves for the loss of tlie tithes. When a burial is to take place, a piece of clay is exposed after mass to receive the blessing of the priest, and to the purchase of this benison the congregation contributes. So anxious is the priest to extort the uttermost farthing, that he waits until the last old woman on crutches shall have hobbled to deposit her mite : and it not unfrequently happens, that this delay is so far protracted, that the funeral takes place by torch-light. The pretence under which this money is exacted is,--that the deposit of this consecrated clay in the coffin is necessary to save the corpse from being polluted by the neighbourhood, or contact of the remains of heretics buried in the same church-yard. Since the Reformation, it has been beld and taught, that all the churchyards have been desecrated and polluted by the introduction of the bodies of heretics, and that the consecrated clay is the only means of averting the consequences of the impure contact. Το Protestants, indeed, there was a different pretext held out; to them it was represented, that as the Romish Priest is not allowed to perform the office of the dead, according to the rites of his Church, in the burial places, this piece of clay, over which he performs the service, is the type merely, or vicarious substitute, of the absent corpse. This, however, was a mere pretext. The poor peasantry of Ireland were taught to believe this ceremony necessary to salvation; and clay-money formed one of the most lucrative sources of emolument to the priest, and one of the most stringent instruments of extortion from the poor. This was the first point on which he seized to awaken the minds of his people. Where, he asked them, where are the soldiers who fell in the war,—the Irish Catholics,-the French Catholics,—the Belgian Catholics, who died at Waterloo ?' Had they clay-money paid on their behalf? Could they suppose that these brave fellows were all damned ? Impossible! It was not then necessary -it was a delusion cherished and kept up to pick their pockets. They felt the force of the appeal ; they readily promised never again to pay one halfpenny of clay-money; and this little breach effected, he marched on without precipitation, but without pause, until he levelled the centre fortress of idolatry, the impious mass itself. Not, however, unmolested was he permitted to pursue this arduous course. The example of release from exaction was inviting ; the contagion spread, and the priests, in alarm, like the shrine-makers of Ephesus for their craft, conspired to arrest the epidemic, and wrote to the Titular of Killaloe to procure his removal from the parish. He was then curate only to the Rev. Mr Maher, and withstood his enemies with success until that gentleman's death. He was then elected, by the parishioners, as his successor. The opposing party, however, succeeded in procuring Mr. Kennedy to be appointed by the Bishop. Hence commenced the contest in the year 1826. He (Mr. Crotty) was in possession of the Old Chapel, at Birr; but the Earl of Rosse, from electioneering motives, took up the cause of the pritsts, and they, in consequence, indicted him (Mr. Crotty) at Quarter Sessions, to recover possession of the Chapel. This step was in direct opposition to the Canons, which, for the avoidance of scandal, enjoin that no priest shall prosecute another, before a lay tribunal. The priests were, however, unsuccessful. A Procestant Jury acquitted him ; yet, in
spite of this acquittal, which took place on Saturday afternoon, he found, on arriving at the Chapel door, on the following morning, policemen, with their bayonets fixed, stationed to prevent the entrance of himself and his followers. The people, seeing the access to the Old Chapel thus guarded, brought him to the New Chapel, of which he took possession, and where he officiated for a week, when Lord Rosse again interposed the police, and expelled him from this refuge. He was then obliged to have recourse to a temporary Chapel ; and, for this purpose, he obtained a convenient house, in which he continued to officiate. He hoped to have been able to establish a title to the New Chapel, and, for that purpose went to Dublin, and commenced legal proceedings; but, Lord Rosse having, in the interim, granted a lease to Priest Kennedy, his (Crotty's) claim was thus defeated. In 1835, the aspect of affairs changed for the better. He then obtained countenance and encouragement in quarters where he had formerly met with opposition, and, full of hope and faith, be set forth to collect money for the construction of a new Chapel. In Dublin, and in consequence of his Dublin journey, he had collected upwards of £600, and he was now come to make his appeal to the Protestants of Ulster.* Such, said the Rev. gentleman, is the outline of the struggle between the priests, and my cousin, and myself, hitherto. To prosecute the enterprise, in which we are thus engaged, we must receive your aid ; to establish a claim on which, we must satisfy you of the extent of the reformation we are working, and are anxious to extend, Taking, then, the creed of Pius IV. as my guide, I will explain my sentiments on each article, in succession. And, first, for tradition. All tradition which has not the three distinct, clear, and combined points of antiquity, succession, and consent, I reject and repudiate. Whatever tradition can shew those three points in its favour, that I will accept and follow. Quo semper, quod ubique, quad ab omnibus creditum est, that will I accept and believe : but I believe it, not as a tradition of the Church of Rome, but as a tradition of the Church of Christ. For the Church of Rome is falsely styled a Catholic Church. She is, in every sense, a particular, not an universal Church. Numbers do not constitute a Catholic Church. The Catholic Church may number but a scanty remnant in its fold, as was the case, when the Arian heresy absorbed all the Eastern, and half the Western region of Christendom. The true and only infallible mark of the Catholic Church is its teaching, and preserving, and propagating, the doctrines of Christ and his Apostles. That Church was once confined to the walls of Jerusalem. It was once con. fined to the precincts of that upper chamber, whence there went forth an influence that, at once, drew three thousand souls within its limits, and now it is enclosed by no geographical boundary, limited to no varieties of clime or race, typified and expounded by no uniformity of symbol. It is that spiritual body of Christ, in which all particular Churches are embodied, and which is, in these days, visibly hastening to the fulfilment of the glorious prophecy, that it shall cover the earth, as the waters cover the abyss of ocean. Such is the Catholic Church, in which I believe, and such is the tradition which I accept and credit.
Upwards of £300 have been already collected in Belfast, and lodged in the Northern Bank with Mr. Duff, who is authorised to receive subscriptions for the Messrs. Crotty's Chapel.
now consider the second of the Articles above quoted :-" The same sense as the Roman Catholic Church!” An , unbounded sense, indeed! Where, in the Romish Church, shall I find an infallible guide or interpreter ? Take the very tenets most important to the purposes of the Church of Rome,-most frequently and successfully perverted for her use - will any two of her priests agree in their interpretation of them? Oh, no!
Often has the Church been challenged to give an infallible interpreter, but as often has she declined the challenge. Are the Fathers to be our guides ? Alas! the discrepancies of the Fathers are no less glaring than those of more recent commentators. What is that rock on which the Church is confessedly founded ? Is Peter that rock,-or the faith which Peter held,-or is it Christ himself? You shall have Fathers, and Fathers of equal authority too, to defend each of these opinions. Here Pope failed in his discussion with Maguire. He should not have gone to the Fathers. He should have resolutely rejected all reference to that copious sourse of discord and abuse. He should have confined him. self to the one only interpreter of the Bible,--the Bible itself. By the light of Scripture must Scripture be read. The sacred and cheering pro. mise, “ I will be with you to the end of the world,” is fulfilled in the blessed presence of that sacred book,-the source and only source of all true wisdom and infallible illumination. Such is my doctrine of the interpretation of Scripture. The Bible is its own interpreter, and must, therefore, be consulted by every Christian for himself. The right of private judgment, the duty of diffusing the Scriptures, I hold to be but corollaries,-inevitable and invaluable indeed, -but still only corollaries from the grand truth, that the Bible is the sole interpreter of the Bible. The seven sacraments I reduce to two-Baptism and the Lord's Supper. If marriage be a sacrament, how does the Church dare deny it to the clergy? I am unmarried, I have no wish to marry, no intention to marry On the contrary, I believe that my doing so would impair my usefulness, by injuring my influence with the people, and I would not willingly offend one of these little ones. But, if marriage be a sacrament, I ask, again, how does the Church, which so proclaims it, interdict it to her clergy? Antichrist himself alone could be the author of so cruel, so impious a prohibition. I know but too well the miserable consequences which this fatal law of celibacy produces to society. I am but too con. scious of the great ahuses that have crept in through this channel. 'This, however, is not the place or the company in which to detail their nature, or to shadow out their extent, were I disposed, as I assuredly am not, to do either. I will content myself with declaring, in language weighed with scrupulous caution, that they are frightful and enormous, beyond all conception. The Council of Trent upheld the doctrine of merits. That doctrine forms the great treasury of the Romish Church. The superfuous merits of the Saints forms a never-failing stock in trade; and a most lucrative commerce it is. The article is purchased at a rate somewhat of the cheapest ; but how it is retailed, the naked and starving, but industrious peasantry of Ireland can tell. This doctrine I utterly repudiate and deny. It is directly contradictory to the doctrines of human depravity and Christ's atonement, which form the basis and key-stone of Christianity. Si non periisset homo, says Augustine, non venisset Christus. To the doctrine implied in this declaration do I adhere, Here, again, Rome is deserted by the Fathers; here, again, is she proved, by her own witnesses, to be no Apostolic Church. So with Augustine, and with a greater than Augustine,with Paul,--do I hold the blessed
doctrine of justification by faith, and by faith alone, but a faith evinced by charity, by love, by good works, by the fruits of the Spirit; as the natural fruits attest the nature of the stock on wbich they flourish and mature. To maintain that man can merit salvation, is an offence to Christ, is trampling on his all-sufficient blood, and arrogating to ourselves what He alone was able to accomplish. But, as the illustrious Chillingworth admonishes us, let us never insist on justification by faith, without keeping before our eyes the glorious 13th chapter of the 1st Epistle to the Corinthians; and remem er that it is only by the works there enumerated, that we can gire evidence to that faith which can entitle us to say, “Christ our righteousness;" to claim his all-sufficient merits as imputed to us. We now come to the mass. This is the giant apostacy of the Papacy ; that mighty master-piece of idolatry, to which all minor abuses and errors are but, as it were, appendages, or embellishments, or subordinates. The doctrine of merits, indeed, by denying human depravity, undermined and rendered superduous the atonement of Christ; but this at once audaciously pulls the true cross from its place, and erects a substitute in its room. In harmony with the extortionate character of the whole system, it robs the sidner of the free pardon offered op Calvary, and shews bim, instead, a priest with a begging-box in one hand, and a horsewhip in the other. Too long has this impious mummery hidden a crucified Saviour from the eyes of men. A time is now, I hope and believe, approaching, when all shall see and acknowledge that there was,-there could be but one propitiatory sacrifice. What sane man can read the Epistle to the Hebrews, and doubt this truth? I confess it seems to me impossible. To the perusal of this portion of the Scriptures I owe my first illumination as to the errors of Popery. If any man can say mass after the atientive perusal of that Epistle, I confess myself altogether unable to comprehend bis intellect, or appreciate its operations. The passages to which I refer are surely enough to satisfy any one, that there can be but one propitiatory sacrifice, and that the suggestion of any other could emanate only from the Evil One. A very simple consideration satisfied me, Either the sacrifice of Christ was all-sufficient, or it was not. If it was, why should there be any other? If it was not, can man offer one more efficacious than Christ? This dilemma effectually convinced us that the mass was a purely idolatrous ceremony. Until the 9th century, the sacrifice of the Mass was never heard of ; but it was too lucrative an invention, when once hit upon, ever to be abandoned. Did the Fathers celebrate Mass ? Did the Holy Apostles? The Romanish Priests, indeed, tell their deluded flocks, that St. John, every morning, said mass to the Holy Virgin Mary, and the poor creatures most devoutly believe it. Ample reason is there here for the sealing of the Bible ! We may wonder, or we may smile, at this excess of credulity ; but we must weep tears of blood over the soul-destroying errors which this delusion is employed to cover, The whole is a vast scheme to degrade Jesus Christ, and to elevate the priest. Christ's death and atonement are made as nothing, while the priest is installed into the rank of God and Saviour. The cross is potbing,-the mass is all in all. With this awful idolatry I have done away. I teach my people that there is and can be no real presence; and I celebrate the eucbarist at once as a commemoration and a sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving; the elements I regard as symbols only, consecrated to the worthy partaker by a virtue from Christ. Finally, I have
restored the administration of the elements in both kinds, for which I find an unanswerable authority in the 25th verse of the eleventh chapter of the first Epistle to the Corinthians. I have thus restored the eucha. rist to what it was in the primitive, independent Church of Ireland. For it must not be forgotten, that the supremacy of the Bishop of Rome was introduced into this country, and imposed on our independent and apostolic prelates, by the sword of Henry II. of England." The doctrine of purgatory is but a consequence and a corollary from the mass. It has no shadow of foundation in Scripture. If any one can shew me that it has, that instant will I go back to the Holy Mother Church. simple circumstance sufficed to show my poor people the real opinion of the priests themselves on the subject of purgatory. “Did you ever," said I to them, “ did you ever hear of a priest praying for a poor man? When a rich mar dies, what a gathering of priests you see from far and near! Where are they when a poor man dies? No money, no mass,'whatever the poor soul may suffer. Now, if these people really believe ihat they have the means of releasing a soul from torments, what inhuman monsters must they be to withhold the boop for a trifling sum of money !" The case was self-evident. No more mass-money was to be got from my people, and this contagion threatened to spread likewise, and new persecution arose, on this ground. Be it so,-my part is taken, and at what. ever hazard, I will not turn back from the plough, to which I have, by God's grace, set my band. Prayers to Saints and Angels is another practice for wbich no warrant can be found in God's Word. Nay, the language of the Word is, “ Come to me and I will give you rest.” Now, in the case of even an earthly potentate, would it not be an insult to appeal to the intercession of underlings for a favour only in the power of the lord himself, and for which he had invited application to be made to himself? Assuredly. But there is another thing,—the Bible offers the boon“ without money and without price.” I asked my people, would the Priest say that? Prompt and unanimous was their negative reply. I have abolished the practice of prayers to saints and angels. I have restored the ten commandments to the form in which they were delivered to Moses. I have inscribed them over the altar. Next comes tbe doctrine of absolution, as taught in Maynooth ; tbis doctrine declares that a penitent may be reconciled to God" with imperfect contrition," on due payment to the priest! Now mark, I pray you, this phrase, “ with imperfect contrition."
Where is such a phrase to be found in the Word of God? That Sacred Word requires penitence as well as worship, and turning to God, as well as loving Him, to be performed, “ with all your heart and all your soul.” “ Pooh !" quoth the priest, “ half your soul will do, if you pay !” So far, this doctrine is impious and absurd ; but what is it in a social point of view ? Who can wonder that Ireland is an Aceldama,-that the assassin and the incendiary are abroad, that every violent passion is let loose, and every wayward impulse is obeyed, when her sons are taught that they have only to go to a priest with a fee in their hands, and even without the accessity of feigning contrition, they can be relieved from all the responsibility of their crimes in vain, in support of this awful system, do the emissaries of Rome quote the promise, “whose sins ye remit, the same are remitted in Heaven.” Is this power to declare the consequence and effect of a penitence evinced by a godly life, an authority to sell permission to sin ?-for to that does this infamous system lead, both in theory and practice. And are you the successors of the Apostles,—the inheritors of their gifts ? Can you work