Robert J. (Robert James) M'Ghee.

Truth and error contrasted : an inquiry into the necessity of promoting the Reformation of the Roman Catholics of Ireland, prefaced by an address to them; to which is subjoined, reflections on the sol online

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Online LibraryRobert J. (Robert James) M'GheeTruth and error contrasted : an inquiry into the necessity of promoting the Reformation of the Roman Catholics of Ireland, prefaced by an address to them; to which is subjoined, reflections on the sol → online text (page 1 of 28)
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BX 1504 .M355 1836

M'Ghee, Robert J. 1789-1872

Truth and error contrasted


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Crtitb an& Crror Contrastrii.









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" So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the Gospel to you that are
at Rome also. For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ ; for it is the power
of God unto salvation to every one that believeth." — Rom. i. 15, 16.









ADDRESS to Roman Catholics .. .. .. i

Great Question for Roman Catholics to attend to . . vii

Point on which Controversy chiefly turns . . . . xii

Roman Catholics and Socinians both reject the Gospel— how xvi

Author's apology for plainness and strength of expression xvij

Roman Catholics victims, not authors, of their superstition xix

Difference between liberty of Protestant, and slavery of Roman

Catholic . . . . . . . . . . xxi

False appeal of Roman Catholics to antiquity, and true appeal

of Protestants, proved . • . . . . xxiii

Appeal to the laws of evidence, to disprove the authority of

Fathers .. .. .. .. .. xxviii

Criminal traffic for souls of men in the Church of Rome. . xxxi

Mahomedanism and Roman Catholic Religion, compared with

the Gospel . . . . . . . . . . xxxii

Impossibility of Roman Catholic Priests preaching the Gospel xxxix
Invitation to Church of Rome to produce one who can . . xli

Author prompted by spirit of kindness, not of hostility . . xlii

Roman Catholics virtually interdicted the vise of the Bible xlv

Earnest wishes for their happiness from Author . . xlviii

LETTER I. To Editor of Blackwood's Magazine, containing

prefatory remarks on the Article in that work . . 1

LETTER II. Whether it is imperative on Protestants, to

attempt the reformation of Roman Catholics . . 9

Two propositions, of passage attacked by writer in Blackwood 1 2
Remarks on popular meaning of the word charity . . IT

Genuine Christian Charity — what .. •• 19

Examination of limitation of Charity to Atheists, Deists, and

Socinians .. .. .. .. «. 21

Concessions of writer in Blackwood, applied to Church of Rome 26
Principles of Church of England compared with those he advances 28
LETTER III. Enquiry into the nature of the Roman Catholic

religion .. .. .. .. .. 31

Gospel of Christ— what . . - . . . • . .34

Popular errors respecting God's law .. .. 35

Justification by works, the radical falsehood of Romish and all

false religions . . . . . . . . . . 38


Roman Catholic perversion of law, and ignorance of tbe nature
of sin 40

Venial and mortal sins, falsehood, and wickedness of the dis-
tinction • . . . . • • • • ♦ 42

Roman Catholics unable to distinguish between them— false
standards set up which they cannof know — audacity and atro-
city of tbe doctrine of the Church of Rome, sanctioning
theft, lies, and flatly contradicting the Scripture . . 43

Monstrous absurdity and wickedness of her doctrine as to ex-
cuse for sins . . . . . . • . • • 47

LETTER IV. On opposition of doctrine of Penance to gospel.
Dr. Doyle's Catechism— awful ignorance of God's law exhibited
in it .. .. •• .. •• 51

Church of Rome opposed to all the attributes of God . . 53

How divine justice is to be averted from man — false hopes of
man— inflexibility of divine justice. Truth proposed to man
in reference to work of Christ — Righteousness of Christ —
Atonement of Christ— Holiness, Justice, Truth— Mercy of
God in Christ— Salvation through Christ to tbe chief of
sinners. Morality, how enforced ; Only provided for; Only
brought forth from faith in the Gospel . . . . 54, 64

Penance a denial of the Gospel— Dr. Doyle's Catechism 65

Misery of the poor Roman Catholic who rests on it . . 68

Contradictions, inconsistencies, and cruelty of the Church of
Rome .. .. .. -. ... 70

Influence of superstition on a man of talents like Dr. Doyle 73

Gospel as preached by the Apostle Peter . . . . 76

Salvation by Christ denied by the Church of Rome . . 79

Sets up herself instead of Christ as a refuge for sinners . . 81

LETTER V. The Mass opposed to the Gospel of Christ S3

Dr. Doyle's Catechism, inconsistency of . . . . 86

Mass opposed in four particulars : First, denies the Gospel in
being assumed as a sacrifice for sin .. .. ^8

Christ's Offering complete — to make any other offering denies
this . . . . . . . . ..90,92

Secondly, Denies the Gospel in being assumed to be a bloodless

sacrifice.. inconsistency of Dr. Doyie's Catechism on this 93

Thirdly, Denies tbe Gospel in being assumed to be a repeated
sacrifice . _ . . . . . . . . 97

The priests hereby as inefficient as Jewish priests . . 99

Fourthly, The mass denies the Gospel in being assumed to be
Jesus Christ himself .. .. .. .. 100

If Jesus Christ were actually to die again, it would totally

invalidate all the present revelation of the Gospel . . 101

Appeal to common sense of Roman Catholics .. 102, 103

LETTER VI. Purgatory a denial of the Gospel— shows the

insufficiency of nil the offerings of the Church of Rome 104

Dr. Doyle's Cutechism— inconsistency of Catechisms .. 106

Impossible for a Roman Catholic to know whether he is to go
to hell or to purgatory .. .. .. 107

Catalogue of mortal aud venial sins — atrocity of doctrine of
theft .. .. .. .. .. 109


Several Roman Catholic servants more upright, than the doc-
trine of the Church . . . . . . . . Ill

Purgatory denies that Christ's blood can purge from sin 114

Purgatory for rich and not for poor — a tax on the affections of
the heart— a mockery of God — a setting up of heaven to
auction .. .. .. ' .. . . 116, 117

LETTER VII. Examination of letter in Blackwood— writer
exhibits a lamentable ignorance of the Bible — sentiments
identical with those of Mr. Maguire — both alike opposed to
the Word of God . . . . . . .. 1 19, 124

Falsehood of the principle that truth is preserved in the Church
of Rome— Churches no depositories of divine truth — Bible
alone the depository .. .. ..125,128

All divine truth extinguished in the Church of Rome — Apostles
Creed no exception— Father and Son denied by that Church

129, 132

Principle of "believing too much," and "believing too little,"
examined .. .. .. .. .. 133,136

Examination of writer's attack on Reformation Society agrees
with Mr. Maguire and Mr. Maddocks. Reformation Society
why hateful to Roman Catholics, Infidels, and nominal Pro-
testants — on account of false principles held by them, espe-
cially the false principle of Justification .. ..138,1-12

Inconsistency of writer in Blackwood charging Reformation
Society with using offensive epithets. Falsehood of his state-
ment as to Reformation meetings. Miserable expedients he
proposes for Reformation — Bible no share in them. Wretched
prospects of Ireland left to such speculators. Concluding
Address to the Editor of Blackwood himself .. 143, 150

REFLECTIONS on Solemn Responsibilities and Duties of
Bishops and Clergy. Present state of the Church as to tem-
poral and spiritual concerns. Guilt as to allowing the
Church of Rome to enslave men without an effort to awaken
them. Danger to be apprehended, not from man, but from
the just displeasure of God .. .. .. 153,156

Great blessings of Church of England, .spiritual and temporal.
Reproof of those who would strip her of temporal posses-
sions — responsibilities which they entail on her . . 156, 1 60

Comparison of Reformers with bishops and ministers of the
present day — our deadness to the increase and tyranny of
Romish superstition. Comparison of energy of churchmen
on emancipation bill, with their apathy and indolence on
spiritual questions of the Church of Rome and Church of
England .. .. .. .. 161,164

Comparison of our privileges with our conduct— open profes-
sion of calling them idolatrous and superstitious, by Com-
mons, Peers Spiritual and Temporal — truth of this profes-
sion— guilt of upbraiding them thus, and doing nothing to re-
form them .. .. .. .. 164,168

Supposition of Church of England in Hindostan neglecting
Hindoos— her guilt in such a case applied to her conduct to
the Church of Rome .. .. .. 168, 173


Inconsistency and criminality of Government in supporting
Ma) nooth— agitation of the country a just retribution on ]
them— total negligence of the Church on the subject— not
holding up the Gospel exclusively as the hope of sinners —
cause to fear the displeasure of the Lord. Contemptible
security afforded by human laws — danger of Church . . 174, 178

Cause of Apathy as to Popery— approximation to it in funda-
mental principles as to Justification— neglected in Protes-
tant Church, Doctrine of Articles, Homilies, and Liturgy
ridiculed by multitudes of Protestants. Justification by faith,
importance of — called by various opprobrious names— the
man who does not hold it, no spiritual member of the Church
of England — appeal to such a man — Church of England no
spiritual church without it .. . • -• 179,188

Homilies of the Church invaluable. Attempt to discredit them
as Church standards. Examination of Author's arguments.
Homilies not u unusable" — excellent and faithful. No ser-
mon of same length in print, superior to Homily onSalvation.
Neglect of the principles of the Homilies cause of the neglect
of Popery .. .. .. .. 188,194

Principle of opposition to Reformation Societies, on the ground
of the existence of other Societies, examined— none of them
profess to make proselytes. Individuals opposed to the avowal
of making proselytes — quotation from Dr. Baynes, a Rom-
ish bishop, on this subject— a temporizing policy, unworthy
of Christians. Existing societies proved not sufficient by
fact. Guilt of neutrality in this cause. Objections of men
who affect to be very " judicious ," examined. Quotation
from Mr. Macabe, a Romish priest, calculated to put us to
shame. All importance of religion — it is every thing or
nothing .. .. .. .. .. 194,210

Sentiment of the Lord Bishop of Ferns on duties of Clergy to
Roman Catholics— Author's apology for examining it —
considers it pregnant with evil to the Church— that adher-
ence to it has caused her present calamitous condition. -
shuts out salvation from Roman Catholics — shuts up the
lips of the Clergy .. .. .. 211,215

Great question as to the state of Roman Catholics— Gospel of
Christ, the most powerful controversy against them. The
Lord Bishop's advice opposed to the command of our Lord.
Ministers of the Church of England bound to teach them,
as placed under our care .. .. .. 215,219

Opinion of the Lord Bishop as to Roman Catholics supporting
the Clergy, examined. Vows of Bishops and Ministers
compared with his Lordship's admonition. Solemn com-
mand ol God to the Watchmen. Lofty Watch-tower on
which the Bishops and Clergy of the Church of England
are placed : immense talents entrusted to them— awful re-
ipootibilit) before God, Have not warned the wicked from
Ins way. God's controversy with the Church of England.
II the Church had done her duty, the people of Ireland had
been rescued Iron) temporal and everlasting ruin .. 220, 22*


Weakness of human laws to support a Church— Church of
England has been resting on them. Church in danger-
Watchmen asleep— Bishops and Clergy called on to consi-
der their deep accountability. Reformers, if they could
revive, would be shocked to see the state of the country,
and. hear such an admonition from a Bishop. Luther.
Apostles acted not on this .. .. .. 228,231

Solemn command of the Lord to Prophets, compared with the
principle of the Bishop of Ferns — that principle refuted by
the proceedings of all the Apostles ; detailed proof of this
from the Acts. Character of St. Paul — whole history of
the Christian faith, .the very existence of Christianity a re-
futation of it . . . . . . 232, 243

Question taken up on the Lord Bishop's own ground. Roman
Catholics have evinced a disposition to listen ; proved by
Reformation meetings at Carlow, Ennis, and several parts
of the country, and the Rotunda in Dublin. Means of
Reformers compared with ours. Guilt of giving over our
country to superstition . . . . . . 243, 253

Conduct of Bishops and Clergy to the Church of Rome, the
cause of provoking the judgments of God on our church.
Question again put as to the awful state of Roman Ca-
tholics ; only hope for them, that they do not believe the
doctrines of their Church. Appeal to Bishops and Minis-
ters of the Church as to solemn pledge ; authority of God
forgotten in that of man . . . . . . 253, 250

Wretched state of the Church ; audacity of the press ; Call on
men to stand forward and defend the Establishment. Po-
litical hostility to Popery, confounded with the spiritual
duty of ministers. False and true zeal for the Protestant
Church, what . . . . . . . . 254, 259

Two Prelates who have stood forth against Romish super-
stition. Our Lord's reproof to the Church of Ephesus —
lesson from it. Supposition that a law were passed to make
us act as we do — outcry against it. Guilt of carrying the
principle into action. Bishop of Ferns' admonition of same
tendency. Grievous and universal neglect of our duty 259, 265

First works of the Church of England, what ? Fidelity of
her Reformers. Solemn Reflections for every Bishop and
Minister. Question, what is to be done ? Plan of Refor-
mation in every Diocese. Mode of instructing Roman
Catholics .. .. .. ... 265,273

Missionaries, how to be supported — what sort of men to be,
in doctrine, capabilities, acquirements, conduct on mission.
Doctrine, fundamental— Justification by Faith. Incompe-
tence of man who does not preach it. Bible, great wea-
pon of controversy. Fathers, Councils— Priests, utterly
unable to wield or grapple with the Word of God . . 273, 2S0

Extemporaneous preaching— attempt to suppress it, impro-
priety of— objection to it examined — difficult to men who
do not preach the truth. Preaching in Irish, glorious field
of usefulness. Prayer. Acquirements. Bible, great point


to be adhered to. A flection to souls of Roman Catholics.

This plan, or something to be tried, not to remain dead 280, 293

Plan of Reformation in Dublin and large towns. Prospects
for Ireland — unpopularity of work — Author's feelings on
it. Statements, true or false. No time for compliments.
Extremes of presumptuous insubordination and blind sub-
mission to authority. Right and duty of individual judg-
ment on. fundamental points — evils encompassing every
path— sins attendant on all we do .. .. 293,301

Objection anticipated. Names of contempt borrowed from
God's word. Sad proof of the state of religion. Bibli-
cal, honorable title. Evangelical, how used — how said to
be applied — profanity of abuse of the terms. True evan-
gelical doctrine. Awful state of man in any rank in the
Church who does not preach the Gospel. Saints, guilt of
profaning the term— inconsistency of those who profane it
— openly profaned in a certain assembly — miserable state
of a church where it is a term of reproach — could not have
been so in the apostolical church. Saint, popish use of the
term— true meaning of it— what to be a Saint — whatnot
to be a Saint. Sajnt and monarch compared .. 302,316

Party in Church, charge of supporting it anticipated — duty to
support it in maintaining truth. Dignity of man to stand
alone in defence of truth .. .. .. 316,319

Author does not examine, who is, or who is not evangelical
— charge of neglect of Popery falls heaviest on those who
are so — men not really so, as bad as any Roman Catholics.
Evangelical men peculiarly guilty— conduct unevangelical,
unapostolical. Inconsistency of sending missionaries abroad,
and neglecting heathen superstition at home. Missionaries
only fit to be recalled who act abroad, as those who send
them act at home— case put. Criminal excuses of men,
who decline to exert themselves — superior advantages here.
Party in such a cause most honourable .. 319,327

Great question again slated and answered. Address to evan-
gelical men. Apostrophe to Ireland. Guilt of the Church
in educating Romish priests. Character of Paul. Sin of
Bishops in allowing Maynooth to be maintained. No
wonder the State is oppressed with agitation, and the
Church with threats of subversion .. .. 327,335

Remarks on a certain class of divines in the sister countries,
especially in London. Guilt and folly of their conduct - •
false principles which they set forth — foolish questions and-
divisions which they stir up — neglect of the Gospel — call
on them to attempt to reform Roman Catholics and infidels,
and to leave their carnal contentions. Great principles to
be kept in view — only means of effective exeition. Con-
clusion .. .. .. .. 336,344


The vast importance of the subject treated of in the
following pages, demands an apology for the time that
has elapsed, between the date, and the publication of the
Letters contained in it. A statement of the circum-
stances which elicited them, and which prevented their
being sooner issued from the press, will, it is hoped, be
considered sufficient.

In the month of July, 1829, a paper appeared in
Blackwood's Magazine, containing a very crude but
acrimonious attack, on the " Society for promoting
the religious principles of the Reformdtion^" which
had been formed in the metropolis of this country,
under the patronage of his Grace the Archbishop of
Dublin. Among other subjects on which the author
of that paper gave vent to his indignation, he particu-
larly fastened on a passage in a speech, which the writer


of these pages had delivered at the formation of this
Society in the Rotunda ; and he attempted to charge
what he called its " bigotry and intolerance," upon the
whole Society. The writer felt he was called on, either
to vindicate the truth of the sentiment which he had
uttered, or to acknowledge its error ; not from any con-
siderations connected with his own character, but for
the sake of truth — for the sake of his Roman Catholic
countrymen, whose eternal interests were involved —
and for the sake of that Society, which he considers
the most important in its object, that Ireland ever
saw. But this article appeared at a time, when he
was ordered to Harrowgate by his medical attendants,
and directed to preserve a total relaxation from
every exertion both of mind and body. It was in
this state, when he was unable to bear the protracted
mental fatigue, and anxiety, of controversial writing,
or controversial thinking, that he endeavoured to hurry
over the letters, written, as they are dated, to the
Editor of Blackwood's Magazine. He had hoped to
compress into one or two letters, matter, which has ex-
panded into seven ; and he sent them over, as soon as
written, to be printed : but a long continuation of ill-
ness, prevented him on his return, from superintending
the correction of the press : and it was not till the
commencement of the present year, that he was able
to desire the printer to proceed. This delay, and the
circumstances of the Reformation Society ; the tota
neglect of the Protestant Church on this most imperative
and important duty, of openly endeavouring to enlighten
their Roman Catholic neighbours; and the increased


facility of exertion, which the relaxation of the penal
statutes seemed to afford, by removing the objection,
that the Society was a cover for a mere political attack
on Roman Catholics, led the writer to consider, that it
might be useful, that an individual, however insigni-
ficant, should offer some considerations, on the duties
and responsibilities of the Established Church, in refer-
ence to their Roman Catholic brethren. While he
was engaged in this, a sentiment expressed from very
high authority, relative to the duties of the clergy, on
this important subject, seemed, when it appeared, to
call for some plain and honest examination, not only on
account of the high respectability and influence, of the
quarter from whence it proceeded, but from the dan-
gerous effects which it was calculated to produce upon
the church ; administering an opiate, instead of a sti-
mulant, in that protracted torpor of spiritual energy —
that long continued lethargy of criminal indifference,
from which, even an inexperienced practitioner might
judge, that if the church be not awakened, she cannot
long survive. These considerations, added to the neglect
of the spiritual interests of our Roman Catholic friends,
even by those who acknowledged the necessity of ex-
ertion in their behalf, seemed to call for some faithful
appeal to the understandings, the judgments, and the
consciences of those, who felt any interest in the pro-
pagation of the Gospel, in the salvation of Roman Ca-
tholics, or the preservation of the Established Religion
in our land. In making this appeal, the writer humbly
trusts he can lay claim to honesty of intention, and he
does not fear to say, that he knows he has set forth the


principles of truth. For the subject itself he offers no
apology, he solicits no indulgence, he deprecates no
severity of reproof from the theologian, or of criticism
from the scholar : the dignity and importance of truth,
lift it up above all such considerations. But for the
numerous defects in composition, he must apologize by
saying, that as the work was written at numerous inter-
vals, during a time of continual bodily weakness, and
much mental depression, he was unable to write as the
importance of the subject deserved ; but he was anxious
to bring it through the press, from a deep sense of that
importance, and the thought that his pen might soon
be silent for ever.

Although intended chiefly for members of the
Established Church, yet as it was written on the con-
troversy with Roman Catholics, and might appear
in some parts likely to wound their feelings, it
seemed incomplete without a prefatory address to them.
To speak the truth without offence, would be, to be
wiser than Him, who spake as "never man spake,"
but the only offence which the writer would not fear
to give, is the " offence of the cross." It is time that
Roman Catholics should be addressed as men, and as
brethren — that the distinction between the truth of the
Protestant religion, and the errors of their doctrines,
should be marked by some other feeling than that of
political hostility and penalties of law ; and if it be ad-
mitted a blessing, that Christianity should be established
as the religion of the nation, it is time that a rational and
intelligent race of men, should learn to recognize in it


something more, than a state provision for the instruc-
tion of one portion of the people, which protests against
the guilt and idolatry of the rest, and which without
an effort to save, leaves them to perish in their ignorance*
The writer is aware, that by a large proportion of
those who are called the enlightened part of the com-
munity, the proper exercise of Christian charity, is
considered to be a perfect toleration, not only of per-
sons, but of principles ; and that the line of conduct
thought most proper for members of the Established
Church, is, to allow all men to think, and speak on the
subject of religion as they please, without presuming,
as it is called, to judge them — he is aware, that any
attempt to limit that religion, which alone can save the
soul, to certain defined principles, to the exclusion of
those men who reject them, is, in their opinion, only the
acme of prejudice, intolerance, and uncharitable bigo-
try; but there is ONE, whose word can never be ac-
commodated to the fluctuations of our modern vocabu-
laries, of which the firm unchanging language, like its
Author, is "the same yesterday, to-day 3 and for ever ;"
from this source, the writer has derived those principles
that militate against the doctrines of this fashionable
liberality — there was a time, when the Christian truth. ?

Online LibraryRobert J. (Robert James) M'GheeTruth and error contrasted : an inquiry into the necessity of promoting the Reformation of the Roman Catholics of Ireland, prefaced by an address to them; to which is subjoined, reflections on the sol → online text (page 1 of 28)