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The partiality of the Popes for monastic orders is easily accounted for. They constitute a peculiar and distinct body, so estranged from society that they can give undivided attention and solicitude to any object that is presented to their notice. That object has uniformly been the aggrandizement of the church, that is, the See of Rome. Incorporated by pontifical authority, exempted, to a great degree, from episcopal jurisdiction, and endowed with many privileges and favours from which the rest of the faithful are excluded, they are bound in gratitude to make the Pope's interests their own. History records that they have ever been ready to come forward in support of the most glaring enormities of the Papal system, and that to their indefatigable diligence and adroit management the triumphant progress of that system was mainly indebted. They formed a sort of local militia, stationed in every country of Europe, always prepared to uphold the cause to which they have attached themselves, by aggression, defence, stratagem, or imposture, as the case might require. If during the last three centuries their influence, and probably their numbers have diminished, the loss has been abundantly compensated by the rise of a new order, the Jesuits, whose superior activity, consummate art and skill, peculiar devotedness to the Roman See, and unexampled cunning and effrontery in the commission of any crime by which their religion might be advanced, have won for them the strongest confidence and attachment of the successors of St. Peter, blessings which, in their estimation, have far more than counterbalanced the general curse of Christendom."

respected that a preservative virtue is attributed to it, even beyond this life, whatever irregularities may have been committed under it. Nothing is more common than to see the dead buried in a friar's dress, and conducted in this manner with their face uncovered, which is almost the general custom in Spain. The Franciscan habit is the object of a marked predilection in the devotion of the deceased. The convents of this order have a special warehouse appropriated to this posthumous wardrobe." Bourgoing's Modern state of Spain, ii. p. 274.-The census of the population of Spain in 1787, gave the following results: Rom. Church dignitaries, vicars, &c. 42,707; convents, 3067; monks, 57,515 : nuns, 24,559. Entire population, 10,269,150. Ibid. i. p. 268.

81 To the three vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience, the Je

Whenever a general council was assembled, the irre gularities or usurpations of the monastic orders commonly occupied a large share of the proceedings. Canon after canon was issued, and still the interposition of ecclesiastical authority was constantly required. An abstract of the decree passed on this subject in the twenty-fifth session of the council of Trent will place before the reader the then existing condition of that portion of the Roman Catholic church. It was enacted, that care should be taken to procure strict observance of the rules of the respective professions; that no regular should be allowed to possess any private property, but should surrender every thing to his superior; that all monasteries, even those of the mendicants, (the capuchins and friars minor observantins excepted, at their own request) should be permitted to hold estates, and other wealth; that no monk should be suffered to undertake any office whatever, without his superior's consent, nor to quit the convent without a written permission; that nunneries should be kept carefully closed, and egress be absolutely forbidden to the nuns, under any pretence whatsoever, without episcopal license, on pain of excommunication-magistrates being enjoined under the same penalty to aid the bishops, if necessary, by employing force, and the latter being urged to their duty by the fear of the judgment of God, and the eternal curse; that monastics should

suits add a fourth, binding them to go wherever the Pope may choose to send them, and on whatever business. Every Protestant should read Pascal's Provincial Letters; they contain a fearful disclosure of the reasoning and morals of that impious order. "Jesuitism," in fact, is another word for sophistry, wicked artifice, and atrocious villany. It is said that the present number of Jesuits is upwards of 22,000, about one-half of whom are priests.

82" In the month of May there are few convents in which the nuns do not enjoy the privilege of going out in a body in coaches into the country, where they dance and spend the day at the house, and with the female friends of the superior, or some of the sisters, Some convents have both a whole and a half holiday; others only the latter. I often met them last spring in their annual festivals; and it was delightful to see their countenances of almost anxious joy, and the wild astonished eagerness with which they gazed on the houses, the passengers, the carriages, the fields, the trees, the fair face of nature, and the interdicted figure of man.' "Rome in the Nineteenth Century, iii. p. 189.

confess and receive the eucharist at least once a month; that if any public scandal should arise out of their conduct, they should be judged and punished by the superior, or in case of his failure, by the bishop; that no renunciation of property or pecuniary engagement should be valid unless made within two months of taking the vows of religious profession: that immediately after the novitiate, the novices should either be dismissed or take the vow, and that if they were dismissed, nothing should be received from them but a reasonable payment for their board, lodging, and clothing, during the novitiate; 3 that no females should take the veil without previous examination by the bishop; that whoever compelled females to enter convents against their will, from avaricious or other motives, or on the other hand, hindered such as were desirous of the monastic life, should be excommunicated; that if any monk or nun pretended that they had taken the vows under the influence of force or fear, or before the age appointed by law, they should not be heard, except within five years of their profession—if they laid aside the habit of their own accord, they should not be permitted to make the complaint, but be compelled to return to the monastery, and be punished as apostates, being, in the meantime, deprived of all the privileges of their order.84-Finally, with regard to the general reformation of the

83 This was to prevent the practice of enticing young persons into convents, as novices, in order to wheedle them out of their property, and afterwards sending them back into the world, on some shallow pretence, stripped of their all.

84" Repentance-disinclination, however often they may happen, are concealed or avowed in vain. A woman who should persist in returning to the world, would be welcomed, not only with its dread laugh, but its severest reprehension. Her family would consider themselves dishonoured, and, in all probability, would refuse to receive her. Her friends and acquaintance would refuse to associate with her. No man would ever look upon her for his wife. She would be an object for the finger of scorn to point at. Under such circumstances, she must take the vows or die." Rome in the Nineteenth Century, iii. 179. Some affecting instances of the cruel tyranny of the Romish church in such cases, are detailed in "Practical and Internal Evidence against Catholicism," p. 138144, 280-288.

corruptions and abuses which existed in convents, the council lamented the great difficulty of applying any effectual remedy, but hoped that the supreme pontiff would piously and prudently provide for the exigencies of the case, as far as the times would bear, 85

85 Pallav. 1. xxiv. c. 5, 6. Sarpi, 1. viii. s. 77.

333

CHAPTER XIV.

PURGATORY-INDULGENCES.

Haste to finish the Council-News of the Pope's illness-TWENTYFIFTH AND LAST SESSION- -Decree on Purgatory-Further illustrations of the sentiments and practice of the Roman Catholic Church on that subject-Doctrine of Indulgences explained-DecreeInstitution and effects of Jubilees-Roman Chancery-Decree on fasts, feast-days, &c.-Observations.

ALL parties were now in haste to finish the council as soon as possible. The prelates and divines were weary of the protracted debates; and those who had advocated reform were so little satisfied with the results of their endeavours that they were anxious to be released from unproductive toil. Similar feelings actuated the ambassadors. The legates participated in the general wish, and urged the divines to expedite the remaining discussions with all practicable speed. This was done in obedience to express orders received from Rome. 8 6

The subjects that were still to be treated had been examined at Bologna, in 1548. Some recommended an entirely new and extended inquiry; but as this would have occupied much time, the proposition was overruled, and it was determined to publish only brief statements of the faith of the church on the points in question, without the usual formalities of chapters and canons.— Purgatory, the invocation of saints, the use of images, and indulgences, remained to be discussed. Commit

86 Cardinal Moron wrote to the Emperor to procure his consent to the termination of the council. Among other arguments, he particularly urged the continual advance of Protestantism, especially in France and Italy, which of course made it desirable that bishops should be resident in their dioceses. Le Plat, vi. p. 161.

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