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« Thou tellest him nothing more of it in thy discourses ; and if your books speak of it, it is en passant, and as of an addition, now useless, to the first commandment, and which contains not another ordonnance. Or rather, by an unheard-of interpretation, thou declarest that the menace which ends the second commandment is a clause which attaches itself to each of the ten!
'I well know that thou wilt say to me, that, nevertheless thy church hath the ten commandments.
• Bat first of all, by what name shall I call this alteration of the seventh (which thou callest the sixth), which forbids adultery, and which thou makest to forbid only lust? Then, in the second place, what shall I say of this division of the tenth into two, and in which is named, in the first place, the coveting of one's neighbour's wife, then, in the second place, the coveting of his goods ?
Wouldest thou not have been aware, if thou hadst read scripture, that God hath given the tenth commandment in these terms: Thou shalt not covet the house of thy neighbour. Thou shalt not covet the wife of thy neighbour, nor his man-servant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox nor his ass, nor anything that is thy neighbour's.
image of a false God, and falling down and worshipping it: it con. sists mainly in caricaturing Jehovah himself, by likening him to something that he has created. See Deut. iv, 10--18.
Either, then, the church of Rome, in confounding together the first and second commandment, and taking away the second on pretence of its being but a part of the first, has shewn herself incapable of distinguishing between things that differ (which destroys her assumption of infallibility :) or else, in attempting to blot out one of the ten words of the holy law of the Lord, she confesses that she cannot stand to be judged by it; and that for this act of most awful sacri. lege she has merited her sentence, to be blotted out, like Amalek of old, from under heaven.
“Thou wouldest have known then, that from the wife of a neighbour to his man-servant, his maidservant, &c. they constitute his house, that is to say, his goods, and that thus it is only by a boldness, or a subtlety, that God alone will judge that thou hast changed the order of the words of the Supreme, and that thou hast separated that which he has united.
* But it is only one abyss drawing on another abyss, and that it was necessary in order that idols and images might enter into thy church, that the commandment wbich proscribes them, and which denounces the service of them, should first be taken away; and a hand which I dare not give a name to, has consummated this work.
• But the word of God, for this is not less sure, althougb thou tearest off a portion of it-although thou pleadest against it, and that in shewing the idol which the workman has made with the rule and the square, as said the prophet, or that he has formed with the hammer, and that he has painted afterwards, or covered with gold, thou sayest: `Behold such a saint, behold the Virgin, behold Jesus, behold the Holy Spirit, and even behold the eternal Father.' Yes, always this word of God cries unto thee: Woe! woe unto the idolator! Thy image teacheth nothing but lies.
* And if thou sayest to me, in spite of that, that the Virgin Mary, the angels and the saints are worthy that they should be honoured; that the Virgin, especially, is far elevated above every creature, and that in serving her God is served by her. I demand of thee again, from whence knowest thou this?
• I see, according to the scripture, that all ages shall call her blessed; and also I regard her as the
most honoured of women. But if she had been without sin, as thou sayest, why should she have spoken of her Saviour, and why should Jesus himself have reproved her as having committed a fault?
. And so far am I from seeing the apostolic church admit of this immaculate conception of the Virgin, as thou callest it, it is not until the twelfth century that I see the feast of it originated; and even then I hear the Abbot of Clairvaux, the eloquent Bernard, elevate himself with indignation against this doctrine, 'which has been,' says he, 'neither known in the custom of the church, nor approved by reason, nor recommended by ancient tradition.'
“Honour the Virgin,' said this sincere man, but with judgment: she hath conceived of the Holy Ghost, but she hath not been conceived : she was a Virgin when she brought forth her son, but her mother was not one when she brought her forth.
“How then will you call holy a conception which is not of the Holy Ghost, not to say that it is of sin ?'
"This blessed woman will dispense willingly with an honour which leads either to the knowing of sin, or to the introducing of a false holiness.'
•See, priest of Rome, what thou wouldest have known, if thou hadst read were it only the history of thy church. And thou wouldest also have known that numerous doctors, and five popes in particular, have thought and spoken as the wise Abbot of Clairvaux; and that if, finally, the council of Basle decreed the truth of this fable, this council was rejected by many, and that a pope, at length, put an end to this dispute, in leaving every one free.
What signifies then this feast of the conception, which rests but upon a manifest error? And how
can he who fears the Eternal, impose upon the people a lie, under the pretence of serving God?
'I will say of it to thee all at once, 0 master of human doctrines! respecting the assumption of the Virgin. Seek for it in scripture : it is not there. Speak of it to the apostolical fathers: they know potbing about it. Ask of bistory what is its origin : it will name to thee the reveries of a monk, after that the edict of an emperor. And it is thereupon that thou reliest, in order to make the people believe an idolatrous fable !
‘But I will say no more to thee concerning these fatal superstitions. That which afflicts me above all is to see thee despise Jesus and deny his divinity, in lowering his work to the littleness and to the incapacity of the work of man, of the work of a creature.
“O thou that comprehendest not as yet neither the grace of the Father, nor the incarnation of the Son and the perfection of his work, nor the sovereign efficacy of the Holy Ghost! tell me what use wouldest thou have made of the meditation or the intercession of any creature that might be, or even of all creatures together, when it is God who hath saved, and when it is God who intercedes ?
Hath not the Holy Ghost pronounced that he who, even under the pretext of humility, will render worship unto angels, intrudes himself into that which he is ignorant of, is vainly puffed up with the mind of his flesh, and, above all, that HE HOLDS NOT THE HEAD of the church, the Lord Jesus?
Thou speakest of a monarch of this world, and thou sayest that, as he is approached by ministers or sabaltern officers, so the church approaches her
Father by the Son, and the Son by the Virgin, or by the angels, or by the saints.
' But why thinkest thou that God is like unto a sinful man, who is nothing but ignorance and weakness ?
'If this earthly monarch, of whom thou speakest, was infinite, and knew all the hearts of his subjects, would he not have known himself what passes at the bottom of mine, and were it necessary that he should learn it by another intelligence beside his own ?
And is it not berein, precisely, that thou dishonourest the Lord Jesus, and that thou takest away from him either his omnipresence, or his omniscience, or his omnipotence, or his all-mercy, that is to say his DIVINITY; for, if he wants any one of these attributes, is he God?
• Finally, what have these souls to do whom thou deceivest, these poor sheep, without a shepherd, whom thou leadest to death,—what have they to do, tell it us, with the merits of the Virgin or of the saints, suppose even that they had it, since the Lord Jesus hath saved his church, since salvation is accomplished in him, since every soul which, by Him, draws near to the Father is saved entirely?
'Is access unto the Father refused to the weakest, to the most obscure of these souls? No, no! quite the contrary, the scripture says to it, that it has free access, by Jesus, unto the throne of mercies !
Or, is this soul held at a distance from the Saviour, so that it cannot approach him with perfect confidence ?
• Come unto me, saith the good Shepherd, all who labour and are heavy laden! For, adds an apostle, we have not an High Priest who cannot sympathise with our weaknesses: but we have Him who, having been