Front Page Titles (by Subject) Number XX.: The same Subject continued. - The Independent Whig, vol. 4 (1747)
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Number XX.: The same Subject continued. - Thomas Gordon, The Independent Whig, vol. 4 (1747) 
The Independent Whig. Being a Collection of Papers All written, some of them published During the Late Rebellion (London: J. Peele, 1747). Vol. 4.
Part of: The Independent Whig, 4 vols.
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The same Subject continued.
I PROCEED to examine the Sincerity and good Faith of the Catholic Curses. I find them all worded with notable Craft, to deceive the Ignorant, but with equal Assurance; since the Deceit is obvious to-every discerning Reader, as the Author of the Inquiry has demonstrated.
The Tenth in Order is, Cursed is he that undervalues the Word of God, or that, forsaking Scripture, chuses rather to follow human Traditions than it. Whatever the Popish Clergy do in this Respect, ’tis not safe to own, that they esteem the Traditions of Men more highly than the Word of God. If they value such Traditions as highly as they do God’s Word, they slight and undervalue that Word. The Author of the Inquiry shews, that the Council of Trent injoins “these Traditions to be received and reverenced with equal Affection of filial Piety with the Scriptures of Truth.” Most of the Popish Traditions are fabulous, many of them ridiculous, great Part of them framed by Priests, and injoined by priestly Authority for priestly Ends; few of them instructive, all precarious; yet all reverenced by the Papists as much as Scripture.
It is Cant to deny that they reverence Traditions more than Scripture: That they do it at all is Crime enough; nor dare they plead Not guilty. It is indeed much safer, in their Church, to neglect the Scripture, than their priestly Traditions and Impositions. Without being obliged to know, or suffered to know, one Chapter in the Bible, ’tis dangerous (often capital) to omit or neglect the Injunctions of their Priests, tho’ not one of them be found in the Bible. Penance, Auricular Confession, Absolution, Transubstantiation, Infallibility, Purgatory, the Power of Priests to damn and save, to open the Gates of Heaven and Hell, are all so many human and priestly Devices, or rather Frauds, to rule the World, and to cheat the Creation: Not one of them mentioned or meant in Scripture, yet all guarded with Sword and Fire; and all who dare doubt or deny them, tortured and burnt in this World, and doomed to eternal Burning in the next.
Then, as they command and practise openly what no Scripture commands, they notorioufly slight and omit Duties which the Scripture explicitly injoins. Our Saviour commands, that all should drink of the Cup of his Blood. In the Popish Sacrament there is no Cup, at least none for the People: The Priest keeps all that to himself, as if he thought it enough for the Laity to be half Christians. St. Paul makes it a Mark of Apostasy to forbid to marry. The Romish Clergy are all forbid to marry. St. Paul makes it another Mark of Apostasy “to abstain from Meats, which God hath commanded to be received with Thanksgiving.” The Popish Church forbids the Use of Meats for a great Part of the Year; but, for Money, permits you the Use of them during the strictest Fast in the Year. The Apostle condemns the Worship of Saints as a Doctrine of Devils. The Papists are more copious, more assiduous in their Devotions to Saints, than to all the Three Persons in the Godhead.
The Curse about the Ten Commandments is expressed in the same equivocal Way. I shall take no further Notice of it here, than that I wonder the Commandments should at all be brought into it, since the Second explicitly forbids what the Papists so grosly practise, the Worship of Images; or (which is just the same Thing) the Worship of the Persons represented by the Images. Their poor People, always ignorant, only worship what they see; and if they worshiped a Saint or an Angel in Person, they would be still Idolaters.
The small, but well-meant Craft in the next Curse, is plain enough to be diverting.—Cursed is he that preaches to the People in unknown Tongues, such as they understand not; or uses any other Means to keep them in Ignorance. Pray observe: Nobody charges them with preaching in an unknown Tongue; the Charge is, That they pray in an unknown Tongue; and the Charge is true. They dare not deny it by the most elusive Terms which they can invent. Their Practice in it is in direct Defiance of Scripture, which largely condemns it; of common Sense, which it affronts; and of all the Purposes of rational Devotion, which it can never raise. Can there be any Edification where there is no Knowlege? For aught the People know, the Priest, in the Mass, may be applying to Mahomet, or to Simon Magus. All that they hear from him is a doleful Tone; all that they see in him is Bowings, Turnings, Grimaces, and making Mouths. By these Tricks and Accents he may amaze them and warm them, and so he might by the Words of Petronius Arbiter, or any other profane Strains, fanatically and wailingly pronounced.
Can there be greater Impiety, or a higher Insult upon true Piety and the Understandings of Christians, than thus daringly to debar them from the Duty of praying for themselves and their own Souls, yet to mock them with the Appearance of doing it? Can there be more successful Means used, by Art and Imposture, to keep the People in Ignorance? Fi, fa, fum, or any other Jargon, would be as edifying.
In the Romish Church, Ignorance is allowed to be the Mother of Devotion; and ’tis carefully cultivated there, as the first Foundation and Elements of popular Superstition, and of Papal Tyranny, to which all Religion, all Reason and Conscience, must be enslaved or sacrificed. In that Church the Instruction, the Correction, the Commands of the Priests, are all authoritative and uncontroulable; to contradict him is Heresy; Heresy is Death and Damnation. Where profound Ignorance is the Mother of Devotion, blind Submission is naturally her Daughter.
This last Curse, equivocal as it is, I doubt involves the Framer of it in it; nor can any thing but Ignorance clear him of it; a Plea which I doubt he cannot offer.
As the Aim of this good Catholic is to conceal and deny all the real Deformities and Horrors of Popery, he would seem to deny the Pope’s dispensing Power:—Cursed be he that believes that the Pope can give to any, upon any Account whatsoever, Dispensation to lye or swear falsly; or, that it is lawful for any, at the last Hour, to protest himself innocent, in case he be guilty.
There is great Boldness in this Curse; for, tho’ the Pope must be a Madman if he averred, in these unwary Words, that he could encourage any Man to swear falsly, and to lye, he notoriously claims a Power to dispense with Oaths, the most awful and important Oaths, all Oaths and Engagements to Princes and States, and all Oaths and Engagements from Princes and States. For many Centuries successively (in the dark Ages, when the Papal Power flourished most) hardly a Year passed but his Holiness discharged some Sovereign from his Oath to his People, or some People from their Oath to their Sovereign, as often as his Wrath or his Avarice prompted him; for one or other, or both, of these pious Motives, generally swayed the holy Father. He frequently tempted and incensed Prince and People to violate Laws and Oaths, and to oppress one another. He particularly warranted the repeated Perjuries of our Henry III. who was continually oppressing the Nation, and as often frightened by the Barons into Oaths and Concessions; then as readily discharged by the Pope from fulfilling them, but never without a competent Price.
This Practice was as common in most Catholic Countries, as horrible in all. The Popes were for ever dispensing with Laws, Oaths, Canons, and even with their own Decrees; and they had a Non-obstante to all Engagements, Secular and Sacred, to God and Man. Was not all this owning, as well as practising, Dispensations to lye, and to swear falsly? “It is as easy to grant a Dispensation to Sin for the future, as to absolve for Sin that is past,” as the Author of the Inquiry truly observes.
cursed is he that believes it lawful for any, at the last Hour, to protest himself innocent, in case he be guilty.
“Aye, says the Author of the Inquiry, or at any Hour. But when a Man is absolved from his Guilt by a Priest, is he then guilty?”—When the Priest has restored him to a State of Innocence, he will think it just to assert his Innocence.
All the other Curses are excellently explained, and the Drift and Artifices of the Framer fairly exposed, by the Author of the Inquiry; for there are several more Curses that I have for that Reason omitted. It is remarkable, that after the Framer of the Curses had denied or disguised the most shocking Positions and Practices of Popery, he yet adds the following and last Curse: Cursed are we, if, in saying Amen to any of these Curses, we use any Equivocation or mental Reservation, or do not assent to them in the common and obvious Sense of the Words.
To all which I answer, Lord have Mercy upon us! The full and particular Answer to that, and to them all, I leave to the discerning Inquirer, who handles this last, as he has the rest, with proper Discernment and Strength.
I end where the Protestant Author begins. He tells us, that this Popish Performance is called, A Vindication of the Roman Catholics, being their most solemn Declaration of their utter Abhorrence of the following Tenets vulgarly laid to their Charge: And then follow the Curses. He says, that it was first published in order to introduce Popery here, in the Beginning of the Reign of the late King James, of whose detestable Government, blind Popish Bigotry, and furious Tyranny, I have lately given a short but true Account. It was reprinted at London, by the present Popish titular Bishop of London, in the Year 1743, when an Invasion was designed against England in favour of the Pretender. It was again republished “at a Time when a Popish Prince was attempting to drive out a Protestant one! a Time when Popery was thought likely to get into Power! a Time when Papists began to think themselves secure of gaining their Ends.”
The professed Purpose of this Popish Pamphlet is to persuade Protestants, that Papists merit equal Protections as equally good Subjects. Strange Assurance, after all that Protestants have suffered from Papists! Can Protestants ever forget the Popish Fires and Protestant Victims under Queen Mary, with their incessant, perfidious, and bloody Plots ever since, to restore Popery here; the dreadful Conspiracy to extirpate this whole Protestant State by Gunpowder; the Irish Massacre, fomented by the Pope, and the Popish Priests the keenest Butchers in it; the Massacre of Paris, approved and hallowed by the Pope; the daily Butcheries in the Inquisation; no Faith to be kept with Protestants; all Protestants persecuted, robbed, starved, and slaughtered, in all Popish Countries where Popish Priests have any Credit; all Protestants extirpated in all Countries where Popish Priests have Sway; the Spirit of Popery still the same, sanguinary and devouring; the Popish Emissaries ever busy, deluding and perverting the Simple and Credulous, daily making Proselytes, every Proselyte an Enemy to their Country, ready to turn against it, and zealous to destroy it?