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by which it cured her of a very dangerous illness. I was a conventual of this monastery for some time, and although my companions every day published miracles, I never could see one in spite of all my endeavours. I then began to entertain doubts of the truth of them; and at the time I left the monastery I did not doubt, but was perfectly certain, that the miracles were the work, not of the crucifix, but of the friars."
“While I was in the convent of St. Augustin, at Burgos,” he adds, in another place, “ studying arts, King Philip III. came to keep his Novene there, accompanied by the prince now reigning, and by the Infants. His majesty, with his whole court, lodged in the monastery which had been favoured by him and his progenitors with great privileges and bountiful gifts, worthy of his generosity, but unworthily bestowed on those base hypocrites. By these means he obtained absolution, and the friars immense riches; so that it is manifest how much reason the friars have to honour their benefactors the images. The loadstone attracts only iron, but these sticks and stones attract gold; and not only near but from afar off. This, in my opinion, is the real wonder and miracle they perform.”
These mysteries of the religion of Rome are now so thoroughly revealed that they scarcely stand in need of farther elucidation, even from one so fully initiated.
We must leave this amusing chapter, and pass on to the Ninth, “On the performance of divine service in the Latin tongue :” the head, or text, is as follows:
“ The Latin Church celebrates, and ought to celebrate, the divine service in Latin.' And it is of no importance that the people do not understand it, since God understands it.”
Is it to be believed that a set of men calling themselves teachers of the people have had the audacity to put forth such a piece of insolent and blasphemous absurdity as this? Or can we wonder at the indignation with which Carrascon exclaims
“ Service for the instruction of the people? that they may know what they ask? Oh, God help me, how do the priests mock at the people! Great is the effrontery of the former, and the simplicity of the latter ! The former, in saying that they are commanded to speak with a loud voice, in order that they may be understood by all, while they speak in Latin that they may be understood by none; the latter, for their stupidity in not perceiving that the priests jest with them like children! Spaniards, suffer not that those who live on your substance should sport with your consciences.”
Carrascon affirms that it was matter of notoriety that many of the priests knew no more of Latin than their hearers; and muttered an unintelligible jargon at the altar.
The Tenth and last chapter is on the institution of religious orders-Del Monachado o Fraylia.
“ All who are not friars,” says his quotation, “ are defiled with the mire of innumerable sins, and condemned to innumerable punish
ments and miseries. The rest of the world is a Sodom and an Egypt. But each of the religious orders is like an ark built at the command and by the inspiration of God. ..... Wherefore, to believe that, without becoming friars, men can preserve themselves from ruin in the midst of the flames and of the mire of the world, is a suggestion of the devil, and a most arrogant presumption. I have not inserted here," says Carrascon, “ an hundredth part of what monks and friars say and write concerning themselves." Let the reader consult the writers referred to in the margin*, and he will see that I deal very courteously with them in not putting in more of their boastings. For there is nothing which the Scripture says of the wicked that they do not apply to all who are not friars; nor any thing of the good, which they do not appropriate to themselves.”
It is unnecessary in this age and country to enlarge on the peculiar abominations of these societies. Great light has recently been thrown upon their disgusting enormities in the last century; and very little inquiry is sufficient to convince us that in Spain and Italy, where they hold the press and the public mind in complete thraldom, matters are very little improved. But let it be remembered, that evidence on this point can only be had from those who have not only taken up the sword, but thrown away the scabbard.
But to return to Carrascon. His opinion of the members of religious communities may be gathered from the following commentary on a passage of Polydore Virgil: “ But friars and nuns,” says that writer, “ reject the works of precept to do those of opinion ;” (consejo) “ they transfer,” adds Carrascon; “ the honour due to their parents, to their prelates, and the cares and assistance due to those nearly connected with them, to strangers ; they withdraw the allegiance God hath ordered to be paid to princes and magistrates, to subject themselves to the provincials and priors whom they themselves have established; they refuse to bear the charges of the state, which God hath imposed, and take upon themselves those of their monasteries, which he hath not enjoined.”
“ The monks of former times,” adds he, "ate little and worked much ; those of our days eat much and work little. They eat their bread in the sweat of their brow : not that they sweat in earning, but in guzzling with such vehemence (contanta fuerza) what others have sweated to earn." He concludes an enumeration of the reforms necessary to the Church of Spain in these
* Padre Puente, 4 tom. de la Perfec. trat. 4. cap. 4, 5, 6 y 7. trat. 5. cap. 2.-Alvarado en la Arte di bien vivir. lib. 3. c. 12. y lib. 4. cap. 10.-Don Antonio de Guevara, in a speech pronounced at a general chapter of his order, fol. 2. 407, et seq.-Fra Felipe Diez.Benedicto Fernando.
words: “Oh, how happy would Spain be, if such a purification of her church could be accomplished ! Greater miracles than this hath God wrought, and while we live we will hope*.”
It is time, however, that we take our leave of this adopted son of our church. We cannot dismiss the subject without some acknowledgment of the liberality which has permitted us to. make such ample use of so rare and valuable a work; a liberality which did not stop here, since we might, did our limits permit, avail ourselves of it yet farther, to extract from several other scarce books, matter illustrative of the same subject. To these, however, we must content ourselves with little more than a reference. One of the most remarkable is a collection of poems, entitled, “ Aula de Dios, Cartuxa Real de Zaragoza,
* Twenty, nay, ten years ago, who would have predicted that we were to look for advocates of the religious orders in France? Bold, however, is the man who will venture to form any anticipations as to the future state of opinion in that country. The Courier Français of the 12th of June, 1826, contains the following article: “ Since the archbishop of Hermopolis has proclaimed from the tribune the existence of the Jesuits in France, there is not a single suitor for office, not a single aspirant, high or low, who does not think proper to be a Jesuit, or a partisan of Jesuits.” The Drapeau Blanc gives us consultations in favour of the reverend fathers, concocted by an advocate, who reckons more upon their patronage than upon his own talents for success at the bar. Not content with pleading in favour of the legality of the re-establishment of the Jesuits, he now demands the re-establishment of all the religious orders, Carmelites, Cordeliers, Capuchins, Augustines, Benedictines, &c. &c. This, according to him, is the only way of maintaining order and prosperity among us, and of encouraging the progress of civilization. “ It is evident,” says he, “ to all who do not see the sole happiness of a people in their physical advantages, that societies of recluse saints, or of holy maids, who consecrate their lives and their pious retirement to celebrating the praises of God and praying for the people, are an immense benefit to a country.” “ Religious Orders,” he adds further on, “ render great services to agriculture, to the poor, to literature, and to the state.” Spain enjoys this immense benefit, and consequently how pure are her morals, how inviolate her laws, how flourishing agrieulture and letters, how powerful the state! In his enumeration of the various classes which enjoy a prosperity proportionate to the number and the prosperity of religious orders, the advocate has forgotten one which deserved notice-highway robbers. As soon as monks get possession of a country, robbers follow; and it becomes as easy to extirpate the one as the other: witness Portugal, Spain, Rome, Naples. France is cursed with three great evils which our apostolics incessantly deplore: an industrious population, a well cultivated soil, and safe roads. Give us monks, and we shall soon be restored to a level with the four most Catholic countries of Europe.
aora nuevamente Añadida y aumentada por otro monge, de la misma Cartuxa. Zaragoza, 1679. By Padre D. Miguel de Dicastilio.”
“We see by the dedication, and by Latassa, in his Bibliotheca, vol. iv. page 185, that additions were made to the work by Father Augustin Nagore, a monk who, not satisfied with the poetical praises bestowed on him by others, has eulogized himself under fictitious names in two sonnets, two octaves, and a romance, which are at the beginning of this work. From these five pieces of poetry we discover, that the reverend father did not quite utter the sentiments of his heart, when he spoke and wrote in praise of solitude and a mo, nastic life; but that his mind was often filled with less elevated ideas. Uniting the first letters of each line in the above mentioned poems, we find in the first sonnet, Angustin, Fausta ; in the octaves, Mi Augustin, tu Fausta ; in the romance, Fausta y Augustin son una alma sola en dos cuerpos ; and, in the last sonnet, Mi esposa Fausta. I do not know if these acrostics have been already observed.
« Although these remarks are of no importance whatever to bibliography, they serve to unveil the hypocrisy, artifice, and villany of men who, under the cloak of austerity and sanctity, have affected to be exempt from the passions and weaknesses of human nature; and have brought innumerable evils upon the world, by means of the ignorance, superstition, and fanaticism, which they have disseminated amongst their fellow-creatures *.” We give one specimen of the gallant father's ingenuity :
“Moral Vaxel, que en medio la inconstancia
Infelize del mundo toma puerto,
Sacra Mansion el culta consonancia.
Opone plaça de armas el concierto,
Arbol seguro e fiel la vigilancia.
Amorosos fogon los coraçones,
Velas ligeras los prudentes juizios :
Trompeta es il callar contra los vicios,
Armas los miembros, tiros los acciones.” It is obvious that, if open violation of all the rules by which these men professed to be governed had not been so common as to attract little or no animadversion, Father Augustin would hardly have ventured to trust the secret of his passion to an acrostic. Proofs of the most undisguised and brutal profligacy might be adduced to nausea. But the investigation is odious
* Catalogue of Spanish and Portuguese books, p. 83. By Vincent Salvà. 1826.
and useless, except to show, that wherever there is a class of men, who have availed themselves of the religious sanction with such success, as to make themselves absolute masters of public opinion, public morals are at their mercy; and, consequently, must, in time, fall before the resistless temptations which such a power affords. It is thus, that societies, whose founders acquired influence by the purity and sanctity of their lives, come in time to use that influence to the destruction of every thing that can stand in the way of their immediate interest or gratification.
Another work, from which we could draw abundance of useful illustrations of the peculiar aptitude of the Roman Catholic religion for the purposes of ambition, is the history of the curious intrigue, got up during the long troubles preceding the death of Charles II. of Spain, to prove that that feeble and unhappy monarch was under the influence of witchcraft *. The interrogations put to the devil, supposed to be in the body of the king, by this confessor, who acted the part of principal juggler, together with the corresponding replies, are quite worthy of translation ; but we have no room for them here. It must be particularly observed, that this was a formal proceeding, to which the highest personages in Spain, and many other countries, were parties, at the end of the seventeenth century, ten years after the English had placed William of Orange on the throne. Few, we think, will be found to maintain that, in any non-catholic country, a farce, at once so ludicrous and so blasphemous, could have been acted in 1698.
* Diaz (Froylan) Noticia de los Autos Sequidos contra el M’ro. Fr. Froylan Diaz, Confesor que era del Señor Carlos II. y Inquisidor de la Suprema, con motivo de los hechizos de dicho Rey. MS. in folio.