Page images
PDF
EPUB

them could not witness this fact. The Apostles were blessed with extraordinary gifts of healing and of tongues : which among those who call themselves their successors possess these? On supposition, therefore, that the Apostles had possessed the power to forgive sin, it would no more follow that their successors possess the same power, than it would, that because the Apostles cast out devils, spake with tongues, took up serpents, and drank deadly things without being hurt, and laid their hands on sick people and healed them, therefore the present race of Priests can do the same. When, like the Apostles, they perform these things, you may listen to their pretensions to the power of absolution ; but till they give you evidence that they can do the less, never for a moment believe that they can do the greater, work. If they cannot remove a pimple, you may depend upon it they cannot cure the plague.

O'Brien. Then, Sir, what would you advise me to do?

Peter. Follow the counsel which St. Paul gave to the Philippian jailer : “ Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved." Trust in him, as the Ephesians did, (chap. i. 13,) and, like them, you shall obtain “redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sin.” To rely on your Priest, a poor sinner who needs mercy as much as any other wretch, is the extreme of folly and madness. It is leaning on a broken reed, or rather on a pointed spear, which will pierce you to the heart. It is an opiate which sleeps the sinner to death, and plunges his wretched and deluded spirit into perdition. Absolved by the Priest, but condemned by God, he will to eternity execrate those deceivers and destroyers of the simple, whilst he shall eternalize this awful truth : “ Cursed is the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm."

DIALOGUE V.

ON THE ANTIQUITY, SUPREMACY, SUCCESSION, UNITY, INFALLIBILITY, AND RULE OF FAITH,

OF THE PAPAL CHURCH.

Melancthon and O'Leary.

O'Leary. Have you heard the news, Melancthon?

Melancthon. What news, O'Leary?

O'Leary. Why, that which at present rings through all Ireland, that Lords and gentlemen, and Church Parsons, and Presbyterians, and Swadlers, with other heretics, have established what they call Reformation Meetings, for the purpose of overturning the Holy Catholic Apostolic Church.

Melancthon. I hope, O'Leary, for the honour of our country, that the report is false, and that we have neither Lords nor Parsons bad

among us, as to attempt to do so wicked a thing

DIALOGUES ON POPERY.

185

O'Leary. But indeed it is too true.

Melancthon. How do you know it to be true ? Have

you
attended

any

of those meetings? Or from whom have you obtained your information ?

O'Leary. I attended! No, indeed, not I; I would rather live upon fish and potatoes from Shrove-Tuesday till Easter-Sunday, than be found in such company, for such a purpose.

I received my information from Father O'Flaherty, a man of strict veracity, and on whom I cán therefore confidently rely.

Melancthon. I suspect there is some mistake in the case.

Did not the Father say, that their object was to overturn the Roman Catholic Church?

O'Leary. Indeed I believe he did say so: but that, you know, is the same as if he had said, the Holy Catholic Apostolic Church.

Melancthon. Not exactly so: in some particulars they agree, but in many others they do not. Take the holy Catholic Church, and the Roman Catholic Church, and compare them, and you will find little more resemblance between them, than between a cage of unclean birds, and a royal palace.

O'Leary. Sir, I maintain that there is no difference; and that there is no other church on earth, but the Roman Catholic Church; and that all who are not within her pale, are under

God's curse, and, if they die in their heresy, will infallibly be damned.

Melancthon. Gently, O'Leary; don't breathe threatenings and slaughter against your Protestant neighbours. You know, O'Leary, many of them joined in petitioning Parliament for your emancipation.

O'Leary. I know they did, and I thank them for it. I would give the devil his due ; but for all that, he is still the devil; and, by holy St. Dunstan, if I had it in my power, I would serve every heretic in the world as that blessed saint served the adversary, when he attacked his chastity. I would take them by the nose with a pair of red hot pincers.

Melancthon. That would be hot work, O'Leary. I perceive you are of the true Roman Catholic breed, and of the most ancient religion in the world.

O'Leary. Yes, your honour, I am indeed. All other religions are mere mushroom religions; but ours is the majestic oak, which has flourished from the beginning.

Melancthon. The great ANTIQUITY of your religion, O'Leary, cannot be denied.

O'Leary. Your honour rejoiceth my very soul. I consider this admission to be a great step towards your honour's conversion to the true faith. Your honour is a learned gentleman; and therefore you will not deny that our

« PreviousContinue »