« PreviousContinue »
To the work of M. Pilloniere are added several letters, addressed to him by the learned Fathers of his Order, some of them curious: one is from Father Malebranche, which shews him to be of an amiable disposition, and of a liberal mind; to this is added, M. Pilloniere's formal public renunciation of the errors of the Romish Church. Should the above account be worth inserting in
your Miscellany, I will send you this last article, for a future number, if desirable. I am, Sir, your's,
A CATHOLIC's APPEAL AGAINST THE ORTHODOX.
To the Editor of the Monthly Repository.
As your Repository is conducted on a very liberal plan, I hope a Catholic may be heard in it as well as men of other parties. What I wish to say is, that we Catholics have been unjustly censured and condemned by many Protestants. It is well known that, in speaking of the Virgin Mary, we sometimes call her " the Mother of God,” and that we sometimes pray to her. For these things we have been charged with blasphemy and idolatry, and that too by men who themselves say that the Son of Mary is God Almighty, and who frequently pray to him. What I allege is, that if such Protestants be right we cannot be wrong, and that they cannot condemn us without condemning themselves. If the Son of Mary be the true God, as multitudes of Protestants assert, how can it be wrong for us Catholics to call her “ Mary, Mother of God?” In condemning us for saying “ Mary, Mother of God,” they evidently condemn themselves for saying that the Son of Mary is the only true God; and whilst they think themselves justified in calling the Son “God”, they justify, by their conduct, our calling the mother “ Mother of God.” Aš to our praying to Mary, if it be idolatry to pray to her, because she was a woman, who was born and died, how can it be otherwise than idolatry to pray to her Son, who was as really born, and did as really die, as his mother? All the difference is, that we pray to both Mother and Son, and they to the Son only; but if we be idolaters, they must be such also, our practice being essentially the same, though circumstantially different; both being in the practice of praying to a Being on all hands confessed to be human.
Hoping this short communication will not be denied a place in your Miscellany, merely because it comes from a Catholic,
I remain, Sir, your's, &c.
P.S.-If this be favoured with a place in the Repository, which you profess to keep open to all parties, I shall send you a defence of the doctrine of transubstantiation, founded upon modes of argument adınitted by orthodox Protestants.
ALLEGORICAL INTERPRETATIONS OF SCRIPTURE.
To the Edilor of the Monthly Repository. SIR, “ DECEITFUL workers,” and men who “ handle the word of God deceitfully,” are characters which the Scripture marks out with the most pointed disapprobation and abhorrence; and they seem to be contrasted with, and opposed to those who
rightly divide the word of truth.” That there have been many such characters in the religious world in former times, there can be no doubt; nor can it be supposed that they are now become extinct. On the contrary, they are probably as numerous as ever, and seem to have crowds of admirers alinost every where. There may be said to be very many, and different sorts of them; but it is the design of this paper to point out only one of those—the allegorizers or spiritualizers of Scripture. In the hands of these the Bible becomes a mere plaything, or childish riddle. They may be said to make whatever they please of it: even the historical parts are by them turned and twisted, spiritualized and tortured, without mercy and without shame. No portion of the Bible, perhaps, has fur-, nished them with more ample materials for the exercise of their presumptuous invention than the book of Canticles. There they have found clearly and fully all the parts and depths of evangelical knowledge. The book of Ruth also, and that of Esther, are fields where they have often exercised themselves very industriously and successfully. Indeed no part of Scripture appears to have escaped their foul handling. In Genesis xxxv. 8. we read that Deborah, Rebekah's nurse, died and was buried under an oak. Our spiritualizers have made Deborah here to signify the law, and Rebekah the church, and the death of Deborah the abolishment of the law, and the oaktree the cross of Christ,
Leah's tender eyes, Gen. xxix. 17. have been made to typify the blindness of the Jews, who could not see clearly, and therefore rejected Christ.
The great pot, the wild vine and wild gourd, and death in the pot, and the healing of it by casting the meal into the pot, have furnished our allegorizers with rich materials for spiritual instruction, which they have dealt out with an unsparing and liberal hand.
Nor have they found less suitable to their purpose, or less productive of spiritual meaning, Esther x. ... Mordecai, the Jew, was next unto king Ahasuerus, and great among the Jews, and accepted of the multitude of his brethren, sccking the wealth of his people, and speaking peace to all his seed. Ahasuerus here has been made io typify God the Father, and Mordecai, God the Son, and the rest the mutual love of Christ and his people.
An instrument of ten strings, in Psalm xcii. 2. has also been curiously played with by our allegorizing orators. The instrument has been made to signify man, the ten strings his five bodily senses and the five faculties of his soul, all employed in the adoration and praise of God.
Even that passage in Isa. xl. 20. “He that is so impoverished that he hath no oblation, chooseth a tree that will not rot;" and that in chap. xliv. 17. “ He worshippeth it, and prayeth unto it, and saith, Deliver me, for thou art my God,” have been most wonderfully allegorized for spiritual instruction. The impoverished man that hath no oblation is the awakened or sensible sinner; the tree that will not rot, is Jesus Christ; the falling down before it, and worshipping it, imply the believer's views of Christ and veneration for him, belief of his divinity, &c.
In the hands of these people, the man who went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, has been made, spiritually, to mean mankind in their fallen state; tbe priest, the moral law; and the Levite, the ceremonial law; the good Samaritan, Jesus Christ; the inn, the church; and the twopence, the law and gospel, or Old and New Testament, &c. Nay even the nine-and-twenty knives in Ezra i. 9. and the tivo legs and piece of an car, in Amos iii. 12. have been all converted by these teachers into some deep doctrines and important spiritual truths.
All this, no doubt, and much more of the same kind that might be added, may very justly be denominated " deceitful working," “ corrupting the word of God,” and “ handling it deceitfully;" as it is very certain that the Sacred Writers, or the Holy Spirit that inspired them, had no such meaning in any of those passages. It is therefore devoutly to be rrished that those teachers inight be prevailed with to give up this allegorizing and spiritualizing practice; or, at least, that they would agree not to exercise this ingenuity or wit of theirs upon the Scriptures. It is certainly not a harmless or blameless practice. If they must be still doing in this way, let them rather by all means take their subjects or texts from thc pagan poets, or heathen mythology. If they should be at a loss for a model or directory for the purpose, I can assure them they may find an admirable one, ready to their hands, in old Alexander Ross's “ Mystagogus Poeticus; or, the Muses' Interpreter;" the sixth edition of which, corrected and cnlarged, was published in 1676. It contains abundance of what may be called Skeletons of Sermons, some of which are what some people would call highly evangelical. One of the shortest of Alexander Ross's Skeletons of Sermons of the above description I beg leave here to subjoin, by way of sample. If your readers should wish to see more of them, they may
be accommodated at a short notice.
[Text.) GANIMEDES—“. He was the king of Troy's son, who, whilst he was hunting, was caught up to heaven by an eagle, Jupiter's bird ; and because of his extraordinary beauty, Jupiter made him his cupbearer."
The INTERPRETER [or, Skeleton of a Sermon]. 1. When Ganimedes was caught up to heaven, he let fall his pipe, on which he was playing to his sheep; so, whilst we are carried up by divine 'raptures and contemplations, we must fing away all earthly delights.
2. Whilst Ganimedes was piping on his cane, and keeping of his father's sheep, then was he caught up to heaven. God is never better pleased with us, than when we are most faithful and diligent in our calling ; not the sad and melancholy, but the cheerful mind, is fittest for God and heavenly raptures.
3. Ganimedes (To: 0741 Mrdsy) is one that delights in divine counsel or wisdom; and wisdom is the true beauty of the mind, wherein, God takes pleasure.
4. Every eagle is not Jupiter's bird, as Ælian observeth, but that only which abstains from flesh and rapine, and that was the bird that caught up Ganimedes ; so fleshly minds and thoughts, set upon rapine and carnal pleasures, are not fit to serve God, or carry the soul up to heaven.
5. The quick-sighted eagle is divine contemplation or meditation, by which Ganimedes, the soul, is caught up to heaven.
6. When, by holy raptures, we are carried up to heaven, the best nectar we can pour out to God is the tears of repentance and of a broken heart.
7. Ganimedes was caught up hy one eagle only ; but if we have the true inward beauty of the mind, we shall be caught up in the air by legions of angels, to meet the Lord, and shall for ever serve him at his table in the kingdom of heaven.
8. I wish that the Roman Eagle would not delight so much in rapine and human flesh as he doth, but rather endeavour to be carried up to heaven, that is, to their ancient dignity, the decayed and ruinated parts of the empire.
9. As the eagle caught up Ganimedes, so the wings of a great fagle were given to the woman, Rev. xii. to carry her from the dra. gon's persecutiom. The great eagle was the Roman empire, whereof Constantine was the head, by whose power and help the church was supported.
10. Our Saviour Christ is the true Ganimedes, the Son of the Great King, the fairest among the sons of men, the wisdom and counsel of the Father, in whom God delighted and was well pleased, who, by the power and on the wings of his Divinity, was caught up to heaven, where he is pouring out his prayers and merits before God for us; and like Aquarius (to which Ganimedes was converted). is pouring down the plentiful showers of his grace upon us.
11. Vespasian set up the image of Jupiter, and Ganimedes caught by the eagle, in the Temple of Peace; so the image of God and heavenly raptures are found in that soul wherein is the peace of conscience.
12. As the cagle carried Ganimedes, so Moses compareth God to an eagle, who carried the Israelites on his wings through the desert. And Št. Ambrose saith that Christ is the eagle who hath caught man from the jaws of hell, and hath carried him up to heaven.
I remain, Sir, your willing servant, Sept, 22, 1806.
ESSAY ON DIVINE WISDOM,
(By the Rev. R. B. *) Questions." Does not the idea of wisdom involve the notion of a connection between means and ends ?” and if it does, “Must we not infer thence the existence of such a connection independent on the divine re ill ?"
It will not be necessary long to detain your attention, gentlemen, in examining the first of the two questions here submitted to your consideration. The true answer to it will be evident, if the word “ wisdom” be but properly defined. What else is understood by wisdom but the discernment and option of the filtest means to obtain a chosen end? If ends could be attained without means, or if all means were equally conducive to bring about the end proposed, is it not plain, there could be no room for the exercise of wisdom? 'This then clearly shews that the idea of wisdom does actually involve the notion of a connection between means and ends a connection, of course, not arising from the will of the agent, who, perceiving the fitness of the means, has recourse to their instrumentality, but originating from the nature of the means used, and of the end to be produced. Otherwise, the agent would be at liberty to effect the end without the use of the means,
* The " Dialogue on a Reflection of Dr. Jortin's” (sec Monthly Repository, Vol. I. p. 14.) is from the same pen.-Editor.