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reasons, which would now influence the judgment of a Catholic, in regard to the violation of abstinence;-not because the circumstance in question, itself would be a criminal act, but because every act of disobedience, and of rebellion to the commands of lawful authority, must be supposed to partake of the guilt of a crime. A temporary, and in some instances, a perpetual, abstinence from the use of wine, and of all strong liquors, and of some other luxuries, was imposed by the vow of a Nazarite, and yet that vow was not only made by some individuals, amongst that people, with the approbation of God; but even we find, that rules, most suitable to those particular cases, were delivered by divine authority itself. We also find, on the testimony of Jeremias the

prophet, that amongst all the descendants of Rechab, a practice prevailed, and was observed, even under the most extraordinary circumstances, of abstaining from the use of wine; and this practice is both approved, and rewarded, by the express declaration of God.

If from the practice of the Jews, in this respect, we turn to that of the Christian Church, in the time even of the Apostles themselves, we shall find, that her conduct was exactly the same. An instance of the lawfulness of abstaining from things, which God has created, and which every man may be permitted to enjoy with innocence, if they be enjoyed with inoderation, we discover in the person of this very Timothy himself, to whom the Apostle is writing, on this very occasion. It appears that he was accustomed to drink water, in preference to any other species of liquor; and this custom, it is evident, the Apostle does not condemn, although he advises him not to refrain from a moderate use of wine, on account of the infirm state of his healtb. Another instance, which, perhaps, it would have been more natural to have mentioned before, still more conspicuous, and still more conclusive, in favor of Catholic doctrine, on this subject, is presented to us, in the person of St. John the Baptist. He is represented to us, as neither eating nor drinking; he is described as abstaining from the use of wine and of every strong liquor; and his only food is said to have been locusts and wild honey. Amongst all the children of men, however, there is not one to be found, whose character appears to have been held in higher estimation, or whose conduct is more warmly commended by our blessed Redeemer himself. To these authorities I

uthorities I may also be permitted to add that of the Apostles, who, in their assembly, at Jerusalem, are found to have probibited, with respect to all the faithful, the use of blood, and of things strangled. The observance of this apostolical injunction, we know, was en

forced by the authority of St. Paul himself, and it is also a circumstance, worthy of remark, that this very epistle of St. Paul to Timothy was writ. ten, subsequently to tbe enactment of the law, in question, and probably long before the obligation of its observance had ceased amongst the primitive professors of the Christian religion.

With an evidence too clear to admit of dispate, it then must appear, that in the mere act of abstinence, there neither is, nor ever has been thought to be any thing of an objectionable nature. If the abstinence of a Catholic be of a criminal character; that criminality, therefore, must arise from some circumstance independent of the action itself; and that circumstance can be no other, than the motive from which it

proceeds. Of the motives which influence our conduct, in regard to this, as well as to every other subject, we must be allowed, I presume, to be the most correct judges ourselves; and I feel no hesitation in supposing, that as a Christian, and a Gentleman, Mr. * *** will give us full credit for both the truth and the sincerity of our own declarations.

Whatever degree of guilt we attach to the violation of the rules of abstinence, or of fast, we do not consider, that, that guilt arises from the act of partaking of particular foods, or from the act of partaking of those foods, at one sea

son in preference to another; but from the circumstance of disobeying the commands of an authority, to which we have each of us been subjected by the positive injunctions of Christ.He that heareth you, heareth me; and he that despiseth you, despiseth me; and he that despiseth me, despiseth him that sent me.* We do not consider that our abstinence and our fasts can exempt us from the obligation of practising any virtue, or of fulfilling any duty, which is required from us by the Gospel of Jesus Christ; or that the strictest observance of them can be any substitute for the omission of those virtues, and of those duties. We do not consider, that any sufferings of ours, independently of the sufferings and the merits of Christ, can be either pleasing to God; or that they can, in any case, effect our reconciliation with him, when we bave had the misfortune to lose the possession of his grace and of his friendship. But we consider them to be of the number of those acts of humiliation, and of penance, by which we endeavour to express our dispositions of repentance and of sorrow for our sins;—we consider them, as the only sacrifices, which it is in our power to offer him, of what we feel, most agreeable to ourselves—and as the only means

. Luke x. 16.

which we possess, of shewing our willingness to make what satisfaction we can, for our various and multiplied offences; we consider them as the natural language of that mortified and penitential spirit, which is enjoined in the Gospel, and which all good men have endeavoured to practice in every age of the Church. We do not 'establish the practices in question, on any superstitious idea, that the use of any species of food is more criminal at one time than another, or that, indeed, it is criminal at any; nor do we appoint, for those purposes, some seasons in preference to others, for any reason whatever, but because we know, that it is necessary, to fix, within determinate limits, that inconstancy and that indecision of character which belongs to the human mind, and which nothing can fix, but some positive injunction of acknowledged authority.

To every impartial man it must, therefore, appear, that in the act of abstaining from any species of food, there is nothing which is not perfectly justified by the authority of scripture; and it must also appear, that in the motives of a Catholic, there is nothing which can give it a criminal character. It must consequently appear, that, the Catholic Church is not in the contemplation of the Apostle, on the occasion to which Mr. *

* * alludes. Who the individuals

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