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Title: A Plain Statement of the Doctrines objected to in the Church of Rome
Author: Reilly, Joseph
Language: English
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Transcribed from the 1827 [Third edition] M. Goodwin edition by David
Price, email ccx074@pglaf.org

                        [Picture: Pamphlet cover]

                            A PLAIN STATEMENT
                                  OF THE
                          DOCTRINES OBJECTED TO
                                  IN THE
                             CHURCH OF ROME,

                                 AND THE

                              HER COMMUNION.

                                * * * * *

                            BY JOSEPH REILLY,
                     _Late a Roman Catholic Student_.

                                * * * * *

    “The Ancients are to be followed not one step further than they
    follow Truth.”—_Just. Mart._ c. i. _ad. Ant. Imp._

    “Prove all things, _hold fast_ that which is good.”—_St. Paul_.

                              THIRD EDITION.

                                * * * * *




                                * * * * *


HAVING never before had any necessity of appearing before the Public,
especially on such an occasion as this, it is with much reluctance I am,
in defence of my character, now compelled to give a fair and candid
statement of the motives that induced me to leave the Church of Rome;
which I did not do, until I tried every means to quiet an anxious mind,
and troubled conscience, and after many private and public interviews
with my Pastor, each of which only augmented, nay, confirmed my doubts of
several of the doctrines of the Church of Rome, (hereafter stated,)
because I found by such interviews I had nothing from God’s word to rely
upon; nothing but tradition and the assertions of interested men to rest
my hope of salvation upon; and even these when _fairly examined_ could
not afford me any plausible authority for the articles of religion
doubted of.  I little thought, after having acted as I did, by continuing
to meet the Priest at every time and place he appointed, to remove my
doubts of certain doctrines which I conceive were unauthorised by God’s
Holy Word, and therefore not taught by our Lord and his Apostles; (these
interviews I continued, until he candidly told me he _was not able_ to
satisfy me, and said he could not blame me to follow the dictates of my
conscience.)  I say, then, I little thought that after this I would be
obliged to vindicate myself from aspersions, resorted to evidently to
deter others from pursuing a similar course; that, at the expense of my
reputation, they might suppress the general and so much dreaded inquiries
of the public mind after truth.  I therefore lay before the public and
the candid reader a plain statement of facts, and let my motives, and
necessity for so doing, be my apology for its inaccuracies.

                                                               THE AUTHOR.


HAVING been intended by my parents for a Clergyman of the Church of Rome,
I was brought up and educated for that purpose, under the immediate care
of my late uncle, the Rev. Edmund Reilly. P.P. of Killesandra, until his
decease in 1814.  I persevered, however, and having finished the studies
requisite for admittance to College, I was recommended to the Rev. Dr.
Reilly, Bishop of Kilmore, for admittance on the establishment of
Maynooth.  I received for answer, that in consequence of the many
applications, prior to mine, his Lordship could not then procure me a
place; but being desirous for that office, (as intended,) I renewed my
application for the American mission, and obtained from my Bishop an
“_Exeat_,” and recommendatory letter for that purpose as follows:

    “Fargalus, Dei _et Apostolicæ sedis gratia_ Kilmoriensis Episcopus in
    Hibernia, &c.

    “Testamur per presentes, Dominum, Josephum Reilly, nostræ prædictæ
    Dioecesis alumnum, natum ex legitimo thoro, hactenus ibidem probe,
    and Chrsitiane vixisse, et multa solidæ pietatis specimina dedisse,
    cum autem educationis et missionis gratia Americam (seu allo)
    proficisci decreverit, eundem omnibus et singulis intime commendamus,
    &c. &c. datum hoc die decimo septimo junii.

    “Anno Domini Nostri Jesu Christi, millessimo octingentessimo decimo

                                                     FARGALUS, qui supra.”

                                * * * * *

    “Fargalus, by the Grace of God, and of the Apostolical See, Bishop of
    Kilmore in Ireland, &c.

    “We testify by these Presents, that Mr. Joseph Reilly of the
    aforesaid Diocese, legitimately born and brought up, has hitherto
    lived there in an honest and Christian manner, and has given many
    proofs of solid piety.  But having for his learning and mission’s
    sake resolved to proceed to America or elsewhere, we earnestly
    recommend him to all and every one of our brethren, &c. &c.

    “Dated June 17th, in the Year of our Lord Jesus Christ 1818.

                                                     FARGALUS, qui supra.”

During my preparation to go on said mission, I was informed by several
clergymen of the Church of Rome, who had correspondence with the then
Roman Catholic Bishop of New York, that no person would be received there
as a clergyman, unless well qualified to preach and defend the Gospel; as
in that free country every person has the liberty of objecting to any
doctrines unauthorized by the Gospel.  This led me to apply myself
seriously to the study of the Scriptures, in order to be capable of
vindicating the religion I was about to teach; to whose sacred contents,
till then, I was nearly as great a stranger as to the Koran of Mahomet.
Why, oh! why should any person, designed to teach the Christian religion,
remain so very ignorant of the foundation of all true and saving
knowledge, as if the knowledge of that which alone can make men wise unto
salvation, were of minor importance, if not altogether unnecessary?  But,
alas this is the case with regard to candidates for the Roman Catholic

I also had several conversations with some of my Protestant neighbours,
on many of the controverted points of doctrines taught in the Church of
Rome, which still made me feel more forcibly the necessity of being well
versed in Scripture, in order to be able to withstand and confute every
objection that might be raised against my creed, which was the sole
object of my pursuit thus far.  In the course of my reading the
Scriptures, I was particularly struck with our Lord’s last charge to his
disciples, as in Matt, xxviii. 19, 20.  Also the following passages, “Go
ye and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and
of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost; teaching them to observe all things
whatsoever I have commanded you, and lo! I am with you always even to the
end of the world,” &c.  Mark xvi. 15, 16.  “Go ye into all the world, and
preach the Gospel to every creature; he that believeth and is baptized
shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.”  Luke xxiv.
47, 48.  “And that repentance and forgiveness of sins be preached in my
name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.”  Gal. i. 8.  “Though we, or
an angel from heaven, preach any other Gospel, let him be accursed.”
Col. iii. 16.  “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and
admonishing one another in psalms and hymns,” &c.  Acts xiii. 38, 39.
“Be it known unto you, men and brethren, that through this Man is
PREACHED UNTO YOU THE FORGIVENESS OF SINS, and by him all _who believe_
are _justified from all things_.”  Acts v. 31.  “Him God hath exalted a
Prince and a Saviour, to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of
sins.”  Compare with Acts x. 43.  And Acts x. 35. with Rom. ii. 8–11.
“Glory, honour, and peace to every man that worketh good, to the Jew
first, and also to the Gentile.  But indignation and wrath upon every
soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first and also of the Gentile,
for there is no respect of persons with God.”  “The Gentiles having not
the law, are a law unto themselves; their conscience in the mean time
accusing or excusing them.”

From all these testimonies of holy writ, I saw with great astonishment,
1st.  That to the end of time, every preacher sent of Christ, and really
belonging to him, must preach diligently to all people, every thing which
He preached, and must not add nor diminish ought, on pain of eternal
wrath; and that in the GOSPEL alone are to be found all these things
which must be so taught.  2dly.  That “repentance and remission of sins,”
appear to be the essence of the Gospel.  3dry.  That the people are to be
informed of this, or “that this is to be made known and preached to
them.”  That in order to obtain these great gifts of God, and be saved,
they must repent, believe in Christ, and earnestly ask them by
importunate prayer to God, and to God alone; which if they neglect not,
they shall succeed, “for every one that asketh receiveth.”  Matt. vii. 8,
and vi. 12.  “Our Father—forgive us our trespasses,” &c. and thus shall
they, according to the Gospel, this message from God delivered them, “be
loosed” by the Holy Ghost (whom God given to all who thus obey his
Gospel) from all their sins, condemnation, and liability to punishment:
and this, through the alone infinite merits and “blood of Christ, which
cleanseth from all sin.”  1 John i. 7.  But that such as will neglect or
not believe this Gospel, this divine message, “must be bound,” (i.e.) be
condemned; and therefore, that it is God himself, not his servants, that
will most assuredly confirm to all believers severally, the message thus
delivered by his faithful messengers, and will loose or bind them,
forgive or condemn them, severally, according to his Gospel; and
therefore, that in the Gospel it is no where found, that any power,
farther than this, is given to the servants of God.  For though Jeremiah
was commissioned of God “to build and to plant kingdoms and nations, to
pull down and to destroy them,” (Jer. i. 10.–xvii. 7, 8, 10) yet he never
did any such thing in whole or in part, actually, but declaratively only;
he delivered his message from God, and according as it was obeyed or
rejected, so were those to whom it was sent planted or destroyed—rewarded
or punished.  And in this sense were the apostles, by preaching the
Gospel, to forgive sins, to bind and loose; and also to remove, in
conjunction with the members, from the society or church, incorrigible
offenders, or to receive them again on true repentance.  1 Cor. v. 1,
5.–2 Cor. ii. 7, 10.

4thly.  That, whereas Christ commanded his Gospel to be given and
carefully taught to every creature, that it might dwell richly in them;
so every creature, therefore, should, above all books and things have the
Gospel, and that, to prevent this in any wise, it not to obey Christ, but
to contravene his will, which would, of course, be the designation of
false and antichristian prophets.

To claim, then, an authority from Christ, to prevent even children from
hearing, learning, or having the Gospel, (for Timothy from a child knew
the Scriptures) is claiming authority from Christ, to contradict himself,
which it blasphemy.

Contrasting these impressive charges, which we must believe, and these
doctrines and observations so plainly and so legibly contained therein,
with many of the present doctrines and practices of the Church of Rome, I
found them in my mind so incongruous, that it became a matter of serious
and anxious inquiry how to reconcile such mighty difficulties.  Hearing
that the ancient Fathers had authorised the doctrines and practices of
the church, I had recourse to their writings, and to my astonishment
found that they had exalted the authority of the Holy Scriptures, and
extolled their divine precepts as the only true and unerring guide to
eternal happiness.

This led me to inquire the reason why the present Church of Rome, which
professes to be the only true, infallible, holy, and apostolic guide to
heaven, differed so essentially both from Scripture and the Ancient
Church; and why, instead of following the parting injunctions of our
blessed Lord, her priests teach many contrary doctrines, to the injury of
many piously disposed minds, leading them from the essential truths of
salvation, by faith in the atonement alone, to church authorities lately
invented, (to say no worse,) which cannot profit, and to ceremonies and
forms of worship unknown in the Primitive Church of Christ?

I anticipate the inconceivably awful condition of a dying sinner, knowing
scarcely any thing of the religion of the Lord Jesus but what is
represented to his senses by the ceremonies of the mass, the gestures of
the Priest, and some vague notions he may form from what is repeated for
him in a strange tongue, and I could not but conclude that such
ceremonies were ill calculated to give sinners a well grounded hope of
salvation; and this I was convinced of, even from seeing the Roman
Catholics scramble on Sundays after mass for holy water, holy candles,
palm, ashes, &c.—I found on the other hand that the Holy Scriptures
reveal Jesus Christ to be the _only true_, _and yet_ an _all_ sufficient
Saviour.—Acts iv. 11, 12, and Heb. vii. 25.  That he is made unto all
believers, wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and
redemption,—1 Cor. i. 30.  And that they who ask from our heavenly Father
for his Son’s sake, shall receive this salvation, and the fruits of their
having received it, will be afterwards manifested in their life and

No Christian will deny that this is the Gospel way of salvation from sin;
and if so, why lead the unwary into the labyrinths of useless ceremonies?
One who knows the value of souls cannot but feel deep concern and regret
for the delusion of a generous, zealous, and unsuspecting people.

These considerations urged me to state some of the many errors which
caused me to separate from a people, whose welfare I shall ever have at
heart.  I have experienced many signal favours from them, and know the
unbounded confidence they place in him, to whom they intrust their
salvation.  My heart’s desire and prayer for them is, that they may be
saved; for I bear them record, they have a zeal for God, but not
according to knowledge.  To them also were committed the oracles of God,
but they have preferred the traditions of men, and awfully surrender
their Bible, their only unerring guide, and submitted to learn the
doctrines of Jesus Christ, not from his holy word and that of his
Apostles, but from men in general very deficient in Scriptural knowledge.

Could I address them, it would be thus: Believe no teacher that comes in
the shape of man, or angel; but try the spirits; consult the word of God,
that cannot deceive you; compare the words and the actions of men with
what you read there, and he who comes nearest to the doctrines of Christ,
listen to him, for the Apostle Paul has said, “Though we, or an angel
from heaven preach any other Gospel than that already delivered unto you,
let him be accursed.”

From all the above considerations and many others which cannot be
contained in the limits of a small pamphlet, a serious impression was
made on my mind for years, which was increased by being sometimes called
on to defend the doctrine of Invocation of Saints, Purgatory, &c. on all
such occasions, I found I had not Scriptural, not even rational arguments
to support their authenticity; but being still strongly prejudiced in
favour of the mother church, I considered her authority was founded by
Jesus Christ, and that doubting of her doctrine, would be a glaring
breach of the faith of our blessed Lord.

Let me now for a moment advert to that which held me so long in suspense,
namely, being instructed from my infancy to believe, “that to doubt of
any article of faith taught by the church, would be dangerous to my
salvation;” and this, I know, keeps many from following that plain and
most necessary direction of the Apostle, “examine yourselves whether ye
be in this faith or not; know ye not yourselves, how that Christ Jesus
dwelleth in you, except ye be reprobates.”  It appeared a most necessary
duty for the Apostle to impress on his flock, to examine themselves, to
prove and try whether they were _now_ in the faith or not; whether they
enjoyed it, or whether they might not be resting in the name, without the
power or practice of experimental religion, as taught by him; he knew the
name availeth nothing without the spirit of genuine religion, influencing
both the heart and life of its professor.  May this salutary, and most
necessary command be no longer overlooked; and the mere name (which is
but the shadow,) be no longer vainly substituted in its stead.

I again had recourse to Scripture, tradition, &c. to be able to defend
her doctrines, but in every attempt to do so, I was secretly forced to
feel my incapacity to withstand the convincing truths of God’s word.
Here the reader may easily imagine what anxiety of mind I felt, on
discovering errors in my mother church, so manifest, that all endeavours
to gloss them over with far-strained arguments, and make them appear
plausible, to individuals even of ordinary capacities, proved
ineffectual, and recoiled with double force on my own conscience.  Thus,
after various perplexities of mind, I communicated my sentiments to a
near relative, (now in College) whom I considered more competent in such
important matters, whose superior knowledge I presumed would be capable
of removing my doubts, without any further exposure of what I then
considered so dangerous to entertain.

Oh! what infatuation—the offspring of prejudice was this; how many
blessed religious enquiries are thus stifled by bigotry!  How preferable
was the conduct of the noble Bereans, Acts xvii. 11. who, when they heard
Paul and Silas preach to them the Gospel, searched the Scriptures daily
whether these things were so, and many of them believed.  But the fear of
man, a false notion of honour, and a reluctance to forsake a system,
though evidently erroneous, and supported by hereditary custom alone,
deter many from yielding to conviction.  I must say, my friend equally
felt the importance of our inquiry; we spent whole days together,
comparing the texts of the Douay and Protestant versions; but this proved
ineffectual, to support the doctrines I doubted of, and only contributed
to increase the anxiety of my mind.  The idea of having so many of my
relatives connected with the church of Rome from time immemorial, often
induced me to imagine my doubts originated in some weakness of mind and
want of understanding; it would be endless to describe all the various
fluctuations of mind I underwent, and the different means resorted to, to
quiet such.

At length, unable to sustain a burdened mind any longer, I went to my
Clergyman, the Rev. Mr. M‘Gouran, for whom I had the highest veneration
and esteem, stating plainly to him the situation of my mind, and the
particular articles of his creed I doubted of; solemnly avowing (which
was the case) that I only sought instruction, if I were in error, as I
believed I was; for, after reading the Scriptures and a great part of the
ancient and modern works on the authenticity of the Roman Catholic
Religion, I could find no tenable proofs for these following doctrines,
viz. Invocation of Saints, Purgatory, Indulgences, Transubstantiation,
Auricular Confession, and the Sacrifice and the Ceremony of the Mass in
an unknown tongue, substituted for the Preaching of the pure Gospel; but
that, which of all other doctrines shocked and disgusted me most was, the
Adoration of the Host, or Wafer, in Masses, Processions, &c.  I therefore
humbly appealed to him to satisfy me from any part of God’s word on the
above articles, declaring to him I wanted only to be convinced of the
above doctrines; and if so, I would remain an obedient son of the church
during life, or if not, that as my salvation was dearer to me than life,
I would separate from his church.—In this the searcher of hearts knows I
had nothing in view more than to rest my belief and hope of salvation on
Jesus Christ, and to be guided by his doctrines contained in his holy

In justice to this Gentleman, I must say he tried every possible means
with me, at different times and places, but to no purpose.  At length,
seeing my uneasiness, and feeling for my situation, he requested me to go
to his house, and if he could not succeed in removing my doubts, he would
allow me to follow the dictates of my conscience.  Accordingly I went
repeatedly, and he very patiently heard all my objections to his creed,
produced various authorities, chiefly from the Holy Fathers, all
inconclusive, and insufficient to maintain the above doctrines.  In vain
we sought for Scriptural authority from them in any part of the sacred
volume; (for such were my convictions, that no inferior or after devised
authorities could satisfy my inquiry after truth,) at the same time I
asked him, how could I be blamed for separating from him and following
the dictates of my conscience?  To which he then agreed, and so we parted
with the same candour and friendship that ever existed between us, deeply
sensible of the favour he had conferred on me, by patiently hearing my
objections to the doctrines and practices of his church.

My doubts being now confirmed, the situation of my mind cannot be easily
conceived.  To follow the dictates of conscience I was fully resolved,
God being my helper; yet, I could not but foresee the difficulties that
lay before me; my mother a widow, in a great degree dependant on me; my
friends and acquaintances who, I knew, did not see or feel as I did, but
on the contrary would look on me as mad, and consequently must consider
myself as separated from them for life; I felt all this to its utmost
extent.  I thought on that saying of our blessed Lord, “he that loveth
father or mother, or houses or land, more than me, it not worthy of me.”
I considered my salvation dearer than all the world beside; with these
views and reflections I resolved to commit my cause to him who has said,
“cast your burthen on the Lord and he will sustain you,” and leave the
event to him, who has also said, “fear not them who kill the body, but
are not able to kill the soul, but rather fear him who it able to destroy
both soul and body in hell.”

Thus far, having laid before you, candid reader, and my dear
fellow-countrymen, whom, at God knows, I love, a true statement of the
origin, progress and confirmation of my doubts of the doctrines I
objected to in the Church of Rome, together with the various means I had
recourse to for instruction and certainty on these matters, till the
final interview as above mentioned.  After this I little thought of ever
hearing the voice of calumny raised against me, and sinister conjectures
put on the motives that induced me to act at I did, this being a matter
that could be judged only by him who reads the secrets of all hearts.  No
slanderous insinuations that could be devised against my person, nor fear
as to their consequence where I am known, could induce me to take any
notices of such on my account; but I feel myself called upon as a duty I
owe to my merciful God and his holy truth, and for the sake of others
that may be in similar circumstances, to vindicate the propriety of
leaving the Church of Rome, a Church whose doctrines I saw could not be
supported by divine truth.  And many such I know there are on whose minds
the light of truth is beginning to dawn, therefore if this humble,
unadorned, yet true statement may prove useful to any of those, the
object I have in view will be fully attained, and outweigh all the
sneering invectives that may be poured on this artless production.

The narrow limits of this small tract do not allow me to dwell as
extensively as I wish, en the above controverted points, so I shall only
request the seriously inquiring reader to compare all the present
doctrines, ceremonies and practices of the Church of Rome with the
Gospel, and find out their origin and authenticity in the Scriptures, (to
which nothing may be added for ever;) and in the practice of the
Primitive Church, before he passes the rash opinion on me, that I then
left the Church of Christ, “Judge not that ye be not judged,” is written
in holy Scripture.  I beseach you read attentively the 2nd and 15th
chapters of St. Paul to the Romans, and consider that the Scripture is
the rule to direct the Church of Christ, and that no particular Church or
people can arrogate and usurp the power of establishing or retaining any
thing incongruous with, or contrary to the sacred texts.

Any Church thus counteracting the authority of God’s law, cannot be the
Church of Christ, but must be Antichristian, and should be forsaken by
all that are willing to take the divine counsel of Christ for their guide
to eternal life.  Is it not the bounden duty of every rational mind, to
prefer the will of God to his own or any other man’s, to discover error
and reprobate sin, in whatever shape or form it may appear; let the name
and pretensions of any Church be what they may, a mere name is nothing.

Reader, let not your own, nor the will of any man, or party be the model
of your life, and actions, but “be ye holy as I am holy, saith the Lord,”
and hearken not to the counsel of any man who does not in all things
comply with, follow, obey, and practise the law of Jesus Christ.  I am
afraid that deep-rooted prejudices formed and nurtured by undue influence
will prevent many from embracing the plain truths of the Gospel.  Every
Christian reader must allow that our Lord has done all things necessary
for our salvation, and expressly ordered his followers to neither add to,
nor diminish from the Gospel.  Adding any thing would be superfluous,
taking from it, blasphemous.  All Christians, and the Council of Trent
too, Sess. IV. agree that the holy Scriptures are the fountain of all
saving truth and good morals, written by divinely inspired men, under the
immediate instructions of our Lord, as St. Augustine and St. Irenæus
testify.  If this is believed by all, and as they say they believe it,
why do some exclaim against them and prohibit their general use, yea, and
anathematize any who dare look into their sacred contents?  Is it because
they know that if the Bible be read, its superior light will dispel all
the darkness of superstition, and ignorance?  If this volume were not
prohibited, in vain would they even by mere sophistry, attempt to build
the invocation of Saints, on the message and salutation of the Angel
Gabriel, mentioned in the 1st chapter of Luke, 26, and the five following
verses.  Do they not understand that our Lord did not then begin his
mission, which they might easily learn by reading the New Testament.  But
how can it be expected they would allow a book to be read that the
Bishops of Benonia said, “was the cause of all the storms and tempests,
that almost ruined the Roman Catholic Church.”  I do not wonder that they
should prohibit and vilify the reading of that book, which contains all
that is sublime in doctrine and holy in tendency—all that is consolatory
to the human heart—all that is requisite to make men wise unto
salvation—that militates against all doctrines and inventions of men, and
the unedifying and unscriptural ceremonies of masses, and prayers in
Latin, so contrary to the revealed will of God.—1 Cor. xiv.

Why are they not as zealous to expunge the unauthorised abuses that stain
almost every page of their common prayer-books, called the “Key of
Paradise,” “Poor Man’s Manual,” &c. a few extracts whereof I shall lay
before the reader.  I ask them can they meet the approbation of any
rational mind having any just views of the atonement of Jesus Christ?
_Nos cum prole pia benedicat Virgo Maria_.—“Virgin Mother we humbly crave
thy blessing, and thy Son’s,”—“Jesus, Mary and Joseph grant us rest,
peace, pardon and glory,”—“Hail, holy queen, mother of mercy, our life,
our sweetness, our hope; to thee we cry, poor banished sons of Eve; to
thee do we send up our sighs, mournings and weepings; turn, thou most
gracious advocate, the eyes of mercy towards us, and after this miserable
pilgrimage receive us,” &c.  See the Litanies of St. Francis and the
Virgin Mary, the Golden Litanies, &c.

Let me here pause, and ask the reader, does he believe did Jesus Christ,
the lamb slain from the foundation of the world, make a full, free and
satisfactory atonement to God, for fallen man?  Is he now the only
mediator between God and man?  Does he need other advocates to procure
the pardon of our sins from Almighty God?  If he did make full atonement,
to attribute the mediatorial office to any created being, is blasphemy;
if he did not, then the whole of the Christian religion is destroyed.
But he did make a full and ample atonement, therefore the mediatorial
office cannot be invaded nor in any wise attributed to any other, without
awfully and irreverently confounding the infinite atonement of the Son of
God, with finite man.  It may be said, by way of evasion, not their
mediation but intercession is solicited by their votaries.  Does the
above “Virgin Mother, we humbly crave,” &c. and “Jesus, Mary and Joseph,”
&c. imply nothing but intercession?  Is it not evident that the name of
the adorable Jesus is blasphemously confounded with his creatures, Mary
and Joseph?  Do we not read above, “Most Gracious Advocates,” &c. and
many such in the Rosary of the Blessed Virgin, &c.?  Oh! what narrow
views must they have of the infinite mercy of Jesus Christ, that suppose
he must be influenced by saints or angels to hear our supplications; they
forget what is said in Mat. chap. vi. 6, 7.  “For your father knoweth
what things ye have need of before ye ask him,” but not one sentence of
either asking or soliciting the interference or intercession of any saint
_departed_, or angel, is ever sanctioned or mentioned in holy writ, nor,
even when our Lord resided on earth, it was never known that the Blessed
Virgin’s intercession was solicited by any sinner, though then it might
appear a natural occurrence; yet, he publicly avowed, “No man cometh unto
the Father, but by me.”  And as this doctrine of intercession of angels
and departed saints is an addition to the gospel, so it must be,
according to St. Paul, Gal. i. 8. “accursed.”

If your prejudice be strong enough to make you believe the above prayers
intimate only intercession, I will prove at once the absurdity and utter
impossibility of this man-devised system.  Do you believe in the
omnipresence and omniscience of the Holy Trinity, and that no other being
possesseth these attributes?  It must be answered, yes, for none dare
believe otherwise.  Therefore, omnipresence, (i.e. being every where
present at the same instant of time,) it follows that being the attribute
of God alone, no saint or angel can hear, at the same time, millions of
votaries praying in different places of the earth.  Hence, the
inconsistency (to say no worse,) of such prayers, and of attributing as
it were, omniscience, that is, knowing the secrets of the hearts of all
men at the same time, to any creature whatever.  Consequently, as they
cannot know the secrets of the heart, they cannot be intercessors for
man.  How absurd the idea! how fruitless the attempt, to pray or to
solicit their intercession, as it cannot be known but some of those
prayed to, might have died in sin.

From all these plain reasons, it is easily seen, how slippery is the path
they tread in, who do not follow the plain road marked out by our Lord
Jesus Christ.  How easily may every system, not founded on the rock of
ages be upset, when looked at through the gospel glass.  Let me
particularly address myself to my Roman Catholic brethren.

Have I not laid before you a plain statement of facts as a sufficient
cause, founded on Scripture, reason and common sense, for my separating
from your church?  But not in the mean time particularly touching, by way
of argument, on any but this one point of doctrine, leaving that to abler
pens.  I am sure it will be told you that I am among the followers of
false prophets; you will allow our Lord must be the best judge of this;
let us hear him—He declares “there shall arise false prophets that _if it
were possible_ shall deceive the very elect.”—Mat. xxiv. 24.  He does not
leave us in the dark to know and ascertain them, and that by his usual
and unerring guidance, and his short but comprehensive rule “by their
fruits ye shall know them;” that it, by their lives and doctrines
agreeing with what he commanded and taught, or the contrary, their adding
to or taking from his word, for he that does so, God declares “he shall
add to him all the plagues in his book.”  See Rev. xxii. 18, 19.  And by
taking away any of the words of his book, he also declares, “he shall
take away his part out of the book of life.”  Now, if none of the
aforementioned tenets, to which I object, were ever taught by our Lord or
his Apostles, in the Gospel, consequently by such additions or false
teaching, the teachers may be easily discovered, and these awful plagues
must ensue.  And if withholding the Scriptures, commanded to be searched,
read, and taught, is taking from his words, this may create strong
suspicion that the dreadful curse of “taking away his part out of the
book of life” must follow.  But if the Gospel be God’s truth, they who
strictly adhere to, and teach it, must of course, be true, and cannot be
false prophets.

Oh! my friends, think of these things: judge for yourselves, for no man
will stand for you in the judgment of the great day.  I well know the
effects of prejudice in favour of long customs and habits; but this, you
are aware, will be no apology in that dread day.  I am also aware you
have been told “that I was bribed for turning.”  Believe it not, nay, I
am certain you do not, cannot believe it.  You have long known me, and
you can now say, if I have ever acted any part that was base, or could
leave room for suspicion.  No, no, my soul I shall never sell—God forbid.
Nothing but conscientious motives, causing any man of character to do as
I have done, could ever be thought of by any man of common sense or
piety, much less by that God who will shortly judge you and me.

Such were my motives, and no other object had I, or have I now in view,
as the searcher of hearts knoweth.  You see I did not do so from
influence, or the impulse of a moment.  I examined and tried every matter
with the utmost caution and deliberation, and from the best authorities.
Seriously reflect and examine for yourselves, before you rashly condemn;
and my sincere prayer to God is, that in all things you may be directed
agreeably to His will; that at the last we may meet at God’s right hand,
where dissentions and differences shall for ever cease.

                                                            JOSEPH REILLY.


{9}  I have known several Roman Catholic Priests, who even have not had a
Bible or testament in their possession.

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