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The engraving prefixed to these remarks is taken from a kind of hand-bill, purchased, a few years since, at Rome. This fac-simile first appeared in the original Italian, as well as in the English version inserted below *, in the Roman Catholic Expositor for May 2, 1825; and, by the kindness of Mr.P.Dixon Hardy of Dublin, re-appears in illustration of the present volume.
* In the scroll between the monks. Blessing with which the Father St. Francis blessed every one, and blessed Father Leo, his companion, who was tempted of the Devil. THE LORD PROTECT THEE, AND BLESS THEE, AND TURN HIS COUNTENANCE TOWARDS
THAT THE LORD MAY HAVE COMPASSION ON THEE, AND GRANT THEE PEACE. THAT THE LORD MAY GIVE YOU HIS BLESSING, AMEN.'
In the space below,Notification of the privileges and virtue of the blessing of St. Francis of Assisi, granted to him by God on account of his merits, for the benefit of those religious persons who shall carry it about them. Every person is exhorted to keep this holy blessing of the holy Father St. Francis ; since it is found, from experience, of the greatest efficacy against devils, stranglings, broken limbs, bindings, temptations, thunders, thirsts, plagues, falling sickness, perils by sea, wiles of enemies, phantasms, fire, pains of childbirth, fevers, sudden death, and innumerable other evils; and, besides, that it has a special virtue for preserving you in the grace of God, should you keep it about your person. The original of the said blessing, written by St. Francis, in his own hand-writing, is preserved at Assisi, in the Basilica della Porziuncola; and of which mention is made in the Chronicle of the Minor Brothers.'
My unwillingness to employ the weapons of an enemy, in supporting the powers of the press by those of the pencil, and in a form so rude and inartificial, was overcome, in the first instance, by the consideration that the design in question is not a Protestant caricature, sketched with an intent to prove ridicule to be the test of truth ; but an authentic specimen of the inventions of the Roman Catholics themselves, openly distributed in aid of their policy. I was also struck by the similarity-it bears to a forgery circulated, to a surprising extent, among our own populace, under the name of Our Saviour's Letter; '-a circumstance affording familiar proof of what is called, on my title, the identity of the Papal system with every form of nominal Christianity.'
There is, however, all the difference between the respective authorities by which these two specimens of blasphemy are sanctioned. I use a strong term, in obedience to a definition adopted by Dr. Johnson from Ayliffe, who writes, 'Blasphemy, strictly and properly, is an offering of some indignity or injury unto God himself, either by words or writing'-an inter
pretation, it will be allowed, fully justified by the facts of the case before us. As to the wretched trash distributed by our hawkers, that is not published PERMISSU SUPERIORUM; but in direct violation of existing, although dormant, statutes against profaneness; and receives its imprimatur from the ignorance and superstition common to all mankind. On the other hand, the blessing of St. Francis of Assisi is sold, it is presumed, in the very colonnades of St. Peter's; and, certainly, in a city where the press is passively obedient to an absolute hierarchy; and where, also, the connivance of government is well known to be among the established forms of its authority.
The Blessing itself is one of those many instruments of Antichrist which, like certain reptiles of the lacertine order, excite at once sensations of disgust and terror. We, indeed, may examine it at our ease; as we do a stuffed alligator in the glass-case of a museum. Mortui non mordent. But what are the feelings of a thinking person who buys and reads such a document within sight of the college of Cardinals, and of the Inquisition ! His human emotions are those of indignation; his religious ones, of grief and alarm. Let us place ourselves in his situation; and we then sympathize as