The Reformation:
A True Tale
of the Sixteenth Century.

By the Author of The Stanwood Family; or, History of the American Tract
: and Louisa Ralston; or, What can I do for
the heathen?
Anne T. Bullard
Revised by the Publishing Committee.

Boston: Massachusetts Sabbath School Society.
Depository, No. 24, Cornhill.

1832 1832 A1v
Entered according to act of Congress, in the year 18321832,
By Christopher C. Dean, in the Clerk’s Office of the District Court of Massachusetts.


Besides various works, exclusively devoted to a minute
history of the important events, connected with the era in the
church to which this book alludes, the following volumes have
been consulted. Charles Fifth, Mosheim’s History, Popery
, Faber’s Difficulties of Romanism, Pascal’s Provincial
, End of Religious Controversy, Text Book of Popery,
Italy by Lady Morgan, Bennet against Popery, and
Rome in the Nineteenth Century, with a few others. It is
hoped a perusal of this little volume, will lead the youthful
reader to a more intimate acquaintance with the characters and
lives of the Reformers, and to the personal inquiry, whether
they, themselves, possess that spirit of active, zealous holiness,
which led to such unwearied self-denying efforts in the blessed
Redeemer’s cause.


Persons Introduced in the Narrative.

Mrs. Athearn Teacher.

Ellen Her Daughter.


Little Girls

Alice Brandon

Mary Dunbar

Lucy Dana

Emily Brown

Charlotte Ellis

Young Ladies.

Emily Willard

Caroline Clifford

Susan Arnold

Ellen Ormond

Maria Ellis

Mary Andrews

Julia Marvin

Henrietta Benson

Harriet Emmons

Frances Andrews

Amanda Stanwood

Catharine Allen

Mary Emmons


The Reformation

Chapter I.

“Mrs. Athearn,” said Alice Brandon, as
she gathered up her work in her lap, and drew
closely beside her teacher, “what do people
mean when they say ‘since the days of the Reformation,’
and ‘ever since the blessed Reformation,’
and so on?”

Mrs. Athearn. “They allude to the Reformation
from Popery, my dear, which commenced
near the sixteenth century; have you never
read about it?”

Alice. “I do not think I have. I very often
read about Reformations—we generally call
them Revivals, you know, Mrs. Athearn; but
the Reformation is something I do not understand.”

Mrs. A. “Well, Alice, what is Popery? Do
you know what Popery means?”

1 1(1)v 6

Alice. “Yes, madam, I hope so; Popery is—
—is――is Popery.”

The simplicity and ignorance of poor Alice,
caused a loud burst of laughter from the two older
girls sitting by, who were inmates of the same
family, and members of the same school; although,
I dare say, had the same question been
asked them, they would have been as unfortunate
in their reply as she was.

Mrs. Athearn kindly explained the term, by
saying—“Popery, Alice, is the religion of the
Church of Rome, or in other words more familiar
to you, the Roman Catholic religion; and
consists in a great variety of articles of faith and
practice, which I cannot explain to you now,
but which I will do, if you wish it, when more
at leisure, and tell you something about this
Reformation—why it was necessary—how it was
produced—and what are its results.”

Alice thanked her teacher, and quietly returned
to her work.

It had been a custom with Mrs. Athearn to
spend the two hours alotted to needlework, in
the long winter evenings, in the room appropriated
to the young ladies, and to employ that
time either in reading some interesting and instructive
communication, or relating herself
something calculated to amuse and improve.
She was anxious not a moment of the precious
time of her pupils should be lost, in which they
might be treasuring up knowledge; besides, she
knew well the folly and idleness to which young, 1(2)r 7
giddy girls are prone, when collected together
without the restraining presence of an elder.

At the close of school, on the day of which
we are speaking, Mrs. Athearn announced to
the young ladies her intention of devoting a few
evenings to a brief history of the Reformation.
“To you,” added she, “who are engaged in historical
research, it must be interesting, and to all
it will be instructive; to the younger part of you,
it will unfold a train of events, with their consequences,
with which you ought not to be unacquainted
—to the older ladies, to all of you especially
who are Christians
, it will show what
single, as well as united effort in the cause of
our Saviour has accomplished by the blessing of
God, and I hope, stimulate you to the holy
, which the present state of religion
throughout the world, seems to demand of the
rising generation.”
The annunciation of this
subject encountered a great variety of feelings.
By some, accustomed to regard every proposition
with interest, because Mrs. Athearn made
it was received with satisfaction. To others,
it really appeared a subject, fraught with entertainment
and profit. Some thought it would
prove dry, and altogether uninteresting. A few
heard the announcement with indifference, but
not so with little Alice; her blue eyes sparkled
with animation, and her dimples came and went
like the blushes of the morning. We might have
fancied such a subject, to so young a mind,
would appear devoid of interest; but Alice had 1(2)v 8
been early taught to think, and when once a particular
train of thought had taken possession of
her mind, there was no rest to her till it was fathomed,
understood, and treasured away in her
storehouse of knowledge.

Evening came; and before a huge wood fire
that crackled and blazed most merrily, casting
its brilliant glare over the features of a circle of
happy and beautiful faces, glowing with youth
and expectation, were Mrs. Athearn’s scholars.

Here and there a curled head was bustling
about, and three or four tongues, that might long
since have claimed a discovery of the secret of
perpetual motion, were in the most lively exercise.
Some were moving about lightly on the
carpeted floor, arranging this thing and that—
others were parcelling out their implements of
work on a large centre-table, over which a welltrimmed
shade-lamp cast its equal light; all
occupied in busy preparation—for as yet, the
tread that hushed all was unheard.

But I must tell you some particulars of this
lady and her school, to throw light and interest
over many conversations and occurrences which
will follow.

Mrs. Athearn was a middle-aged lady of great
dignity and refinement, possessing a mind of superior
strength, well-stored, and diligently cultivated.
She had been educated in the circles of
rank and affluence, and in her intercourse with
the world, had acquired that ease and elegance of
manner, which acquaintance with polished society 1(3)r 9
seldom fails to confer. She had also been
beautiful, in the true sense of the word, and still
retained so much of the impress of youth in her
form and countenance, that few persons of discernment
would have supposed they risked the
credit of her judgment, to pronounce her still
on the younger side of thirty.

She had married early, and happily, and with
her husband left her native land; but before her
twenty third summer’s sun had passed, she returned
to her own country, still a beautiful, though
blighted flower, with all her heart’s treasures centred
in her babe, little Ellen, her only child. Her
husband, and first-born, whom she loved with
almost enthusiastic tenderness, she had left behind,
sleeping on a foreign shore. But her sorrows
were blessed to her. Her afflictions were
instrumental in working out for her a far more
enduring inheritance, than the comforts and
pleasures which earth can bestow. Her proud
spirit became chastened and subdued, and by
the grace of God she was rendered singularly
submissive and devoted to Him, “who doth not
afflict willingly, nor grieve the children of men.”

INTERNAL ERROR. Please report to wwp@neu.edu that regMe is unmatched.Lam. iii. 33

At her father’s death, Mrs. Athearn came
into possession of the old family mansion, and
with her Ellen, then nine years of age, and one
tried, faithfully attached domestic, she sought
its retirement. It was situated a few miles from
town, rather aside from the beautiful village of
L―― in a most quiet, delightful place—and here 1* 1(3)v 10
she superintended Ellen’s education almost entirely
herself. Her opinions on the subject of
female education were rather peculiar, and would
perhaps be deemed enthusiastic by many mothers,
who, not from necessity, but from thoughtlessness,
or a still more inexcusable motive, relinquish
the intellectual management of their
daughters wholly, or almost so, to strangers, beyond
their own supervision or control.

Her views led her to feel deeply the awful
responsibility which God had laid upon her, in
the precious soul he had confided to her fostering
care; and to feel that whatever of mere
temporal interest interfered with the just and
faithful discharge of the duties which the immortal
being consigned to her culture involved,
it must be disregarded and neglected.

Whether Mrs. Athearn’s system was incorrect
or judicious, her lovely Ellen, at the age of
sixteen, exhibited a most flattering result.

There were, however, in the circle of Mrs.
acquaintance, many mothers of distinction
and influence, who supposed their numerous
cares rendered it impossible for them to
devote the time and systematic attention to their
daughters, which their views of female education
demanded. Yet they could not commit
their precious charge to the influence of an indiscriminate
boarding-school. With one impulse,
their attention was directed to Mrs. Athearn,
as eminently qualified by her attainments,
the deep tone of her piety and her few worldly 1(4)r 11
cares, for an office so highly responsible and

But could she forego her ease, her delightful,
quiet seclusion, and assume a task at once so
self-denying? A united petition was, however,
presented, and though she received it with some
surprise, and was tempted at first wholly to decline
the undertaking, mature deliberation and
prayer for guidance led her to a compliance
with the general wish. She saw, as she had
not seen it before, that her present life was
comparatively useless to her fellow men, that the
ease and freedom from care she had hitherto
sought, were inconsistent with the professions of
religious attachment she had made to Him, who
went about ever doing good.

She saw a wide field of usefulness before her
in the culture of these young, pliant minds,—
that if properly directed, a vast amount of good
from their talents, their influence, and their
wealth might accrue to the church, and she
dared not, in the light of eternity, refuse a work
so evidently an answer to her prayers for more
extensive usefulness.

A bequest of the little orphan, Alice Brandon,
to her fostering care was made about the same
time, and was another weight in the scale which
induced her to comply with the wishes of her

Her house was at length thrown open and
filled to the great delight of Ellen, and the almost
ecstatic joy of little Alice. It was a noble establishment 1(4)v 12
without, and nothing which could
promote Mrs. A.’s broad plans for her pupils was
spared within, to render her home for them

Mrs. Athearn’s father had been a great lover
of the wild and romantic, and had taken particular
pains to cultivate the shrubbery around his
dwelling; so much so, that his house was actually
embedded in a little forest of his own planting
and cultivation. And Mrs. Athearn was
one who could not live without flowers; by her
tasteful arrangement, the whole immediate vicinity
of her dwelling in the summer seemed in
one perfect bloom, while the odor of the flowers,
the cool breath of the waving trees, and the
singing of the birds that warbled in their
branches, rendered “the woodlands” to a passer-by,
one of the most delightful places in the
world. But winter had robbed this place, as all
others, or verdant beauty, and left little to notice
save the slender twigs, and stiff, knotty branches
of the trees, fringed with glittering icicles—with
here and there an old elm bending beneath the
weight of its years and its fringes, which little
Alice called “the good old centinels that stood
bowing and nodding as if they would say, we
will most faithfully guard the precious treasure
Mrs. Athearn had as wonderful a
faculty of producing happy faces within doors,
as in creating pleasant scenery without. Perhaps
a uniformly happier group were seldom
seen, than the twenty-five young ladies and misses 1(5)r 13
who were assembled on the evening to which
we have referred, to engage in their usual evening
task, and listen to Mrs. Athearn’s story of
the Reformation.

The moment her gentle tread was heard in
the hall, all buzzing died away; and it was
amusing to see what a host of smiles were lighted
by her glance, and with what fresh brilliancy
the eyes sparkled that gazed a welcome at her
entrance. Ten minutes were allowed for the
adjustment of matters and things, previous to a
commencement of the conversation; when past,
Mrs. Athearn said――“To give even a very
brief account of all the events which led to this
important era in the church, and mark its progress
in the different countries through which it
spread, will require much time; and we shall
not be able now to examine the history of each
country separately. I shall therefore commence
with general information relating to the state of
religion throughout Europe about that period,
and Germany will be the particular portion of
the continent to which I shall turn your attention,
because it was in a province of that country
that the dawn of the Reformation commenced.
By taking you with me, and enlisting your feelings
in a particular detail of occurrences connected
with that event in one country, I hope so
far to rouse your inquisitiveness, as to lead
you, at your leisure, by your own researches, to
a similar acquaintance with the others.”

Then turning to a little curly-headed girl on 1(5)v 14
her left, Mrs. Athearn said, “Mary Dunbar, can
you tell me the situation of Germany, and draw
the outline of its shape on the slate that hangs
over the mantel-piece?”

Little Mary, overjoyed at the mark of attention
which this request expressed, said quickly,
in a very distinct voice—

“Germany lies between the countries of Denmark,
Holland, France, Switzerland, Austria,
and Prussia; and is bounded thus—North by
Denmark and the North sea, South by Switzerland
and Austria, East by Prussia and Austria,
and West by Holland and France.”

She then drew a tolerably correct outline of
its form with her pencil, and Mrs. Athearn rewarded
her promptness by one of her most
approving smiles.

“And now,” continued this lady, “I shall
ask a few more general questions. The Reformation
took place in the sixteenth century. Can
you tell me, Miss Willard, under whose reign it

Emily Willard. “I believe Maximilian I. was
Emperor at the time of Luther’s breach
with the church of Rome; but he was
quite aged, and lived only two or three years

Mrs. A. “You are right. Who was the
reigning Pope at this time?”

“Leo X.” said one young lady in reply.

“And who was Luther?” asked Alice Brandon,

1(6)r 15

Mrs. Athearn was always pleased to encourage
a spirit of inquiry in her pupils, and she
answered Alice by saying—“Martin Luther,
the author of the Reformation, was a native of
Isleben, in Upper Saxony.”
(Two or three of
the girls looked out the place on the map.)

“He was born of respectable, though not affluent
parents, who gave him a liberal education,
intending him for the practice of
law; 14831483
but the sudden death of a companion, who
was killed in a thunder-storm, at his side, made
so deep an impression on his mind, that he was induced
to abandon his first intention, and seek a
monastic life. To a man of his social feelings,
cheerfulness of temper, playfulness of humor, and
native taste for the cultivation of those accomplishments
which rendered him so acceptable
and attractive in society, and were so necessary to
himself as a soothing resource, in those seasons
of low spirits to which persons of his ardent
temperament are prone, a life of such seclusion
and austerity must have been exceedingly uncongenial.
But with the same promptitude
which ever characterized his resolutions, he
persisted in his purpose, and connected himself
with an Augustinian monastery, at Erfurt,—assumed
the monastic garb, and conformed
with the greatest ardor to all the regulations
of his new profession. 15051505
Two years afterward he was ordained Priest,
and having acquired considerable celebrity for
learning and sanctity, at the age of twenty five he 1(6)v 16
became professor in the University of Wittemburg,
recently founded by Frederic, Elector of
Saxony. While in the convent, he had access to a
Bible which lay neglected in the library, and
which was the first he had ever met in his life.”

Lucy Dana. “Never met a Bible in his life,
Mrs. Athearn? Did not his mother teach him
to read the Bible?”

Mrs. A. “No, my dear; the Bible was studied
exclusively by the priests, and they imparted
only such portions of it to the people as they
chose, studiously withholding its entire perusal
from them, and even prohibiting its circulation.
Besides, as it then did not exist in the common
language of the country, even had it been circulated,
to the mass of community entirely
unacquainted with the dead languages, it would
have been a sealed volume.”

“The theological notions of the people were
derived entirely from the canon law, (the decrees
of the Pope,) and the traditions of the
fathers. The religion of Jesus Christ had been
becoming more and more corrupt for several
centuries, till the Roman Catholic church had
so long taught ‘for doctrines, the commandments
of men,’
that in the religion of Europe,
as it then existed, it was almost impossible to
recognize the religion of the Bible. The priesthood,
who, as ambassadors of Christ, ought to
have imitated his holiness, meekness, and benevolence,
had become distinguished for their
immorality, ambition, fraud, avarice and cruelty.
2(1)r 17 It is said the worship of God had become so
changed, as almost to resemble the worship of

Miss Clifford. “Did these errors in the church
pass unnoticed by the people?”

Mrs. A. “No; these evils were neither unseen
nor unfelt by the truly pious and most
enlightened part of the community. But so
completely was the reign of superstition and
religious tyranny established throughout the
land, that the majority saw as though they saw
, and felt as though they felt not. When
they beheld the profligacy of the clergy—the
base measures used by them to extort money
from the people—their crimes and oppressions
and impositions on the credulous multitude, they
secretly indulged the most sovereign contempt
for the Roman See; and had the evils they
deplored been less deeply rooted and less in
magnitude, they would have hoped for and attempted

“As things were, they became discouraged,
depressed; feeling, unless the Lord’s arm was
outstretched for the rescue of his people, vain
was the help of man;—and strong cries and
prayers arose to the Lord of Hosts, for help;—
that he would arise and stay the desolating
waters which threatened totally to submerge the
purity of the religion of their Lord Jesus Christ
in the earth.
A few holy, brave spirits ventured boldly and
openly to condemn the practices and expose the 2 2(1)v 18
vices of the church,—but they sealed their testimony
with their blood. Claudius of Turin,
Wickliffe, Huss, and Jerome, were of that number;
but the boldness, the fearlessness and the
determined attack of a Luther were needed,
before the fabric tottered. Few had dared to
lift their voices loud as yet, for the tortures of
the inquisition were before them if they did, and
threatened damnation from their spiritual guides
to all eternity.”

Miss W. “But did not the attacks of the men
you mentioned, Wickliffe and others, do anything
towards preparing the way for a reformation?”

Mrs. A. “Oh yes, they were of great advantage
in this respect. They preached not, nor
died they in vain; their labors were not as water
spilled on the ground. No one ever made an
effort for the Lord Jesus Christ, in vain
; remember
this, my dear young ladies, and let it
ever cheer you in every labor you undertake in
your blessed Master’s service. These servants
of Christ were useful in leading many to a
saving acquaintance with ‘the truth as it is in
and were instrumental in turning the
eye of public attention still more to the lives
and proceedings of their spiritual guides.”

“Learning began to revive; schools and universities
were established about the commencement
of this century. Knowledge was disseminated,
and as the people became enlightened,
the superstitions and corruptions of the Romish 2(2)r 19
court and clergy became the objects of more
general remark and criticism. The mind and
will of the people became prepared and ripe for
a reform; nothing but the instrument for its
accomplishment was wanting—a daring and
intrepid leader—and God had now raised up
such an one in Luther.”

Susan Arnold. “But Luther was quite a young
man at this time; he could not be much known.
Strange that he should have been destined for
such an enterprize.”

Mrs. A. “God seeth not as man seeth; his
ways are not as our ways. He often selects instruments
for accomplishing his purposes which
we should not have chosen, but we are always
left to admire his wisdom in his choice. Luther
young as he was, had by his unwearied application
to study, acquired the reputation of
‘the most ingenious and learned man of his
order in Germany.’
He was eminent also for
the sanctity of his life; few perhaps in his time,
even of the priests, had drank so deeply at the
pure fountain of the Word of God, as he. For,
from the time he had found the Bible, he had
made it his daily companion, and had committed
most of its striking passages to memory. He
found to his astonishment that many of the
truths which the Bible contained were withheld
from the people, and numberless errors substituted
for them. He became dejected and melancholy
—but derived great comfort from the 2(2)v 20
holy and prudent counsels of an old monk in the
same monastery with himself.”

“Business of his order led Luther to Rome in
15101510; he saw the Court of Rome, and was
shocked at what he saw.”

“Oh, Mrs. Athearn,” said Ellen Ormond, “if
you would but tell us about Rome—the Pope—
and the Pope’s court, and the religion of the
Pope, and all his Popish doings! I always
wanted to know more about the Roman Catholic
religion than I do.”

Mrs. A. “I rejoice that I can gratify your
curiosity, Ellen, as far as will be profitable, and
as is necessary to show how far the church had
departed from the purity and simplicity of the
religion of Christ
, and the imperious need of a
thorough reform

“I recollect finding among my father’s papers
after his death, a packet of letters, which I examined
with considerable curiosity. They were
written to his grandfather by a younger brother, a
physician, then travelling in Italy for his health.
With other papers they fell into my father’s
possession, then into mine; and are worthy of
preservation, not only for antiquity’s sake, but
because they contain many remarkable facts in
reference to Romish doctrine and practice.
Alice, you may take this key, and unlock the
upper draw of the old secretary in the library,
and snugly stowed in the farther corner, you
will find the packet to which I have alluded.”

So away went Alice, and she soon returned 2(3)r 21
with the expected letters, and all hearts beat
in eager expectation while Mrs. Athearn unloosed
the bundle, and began selecting them
for perusal, according to date.

“They are written in quite a familiar style,
as you will perceive,”
said Mrs. Athearn, “and
were intended for the eye of a brother alone.”

2* 2(3)v 22

Chapter II.

All eyes were fixed, while Mrs. Athearn
read. Dear Charles,—I am at length in Rome;
and of all the places that I have yet seen or
ever shall see, this is the most delightful.
Where we have indulged in high anticipations,
you know it is not often we find them more
than realized, but mine were in this case.
Every thing which had particularly excited
my admiration in my travels in the various cities
through which I passed, awaited me at Rome in
still greater perfection. I had always ardently
desired to view the very place and scene of those
important events with which history had furnished
me entertainment and instruction from
my youngest years. I had promised myself
great pleasure in beholding the genuine remains
of Pagan Rome—in visiting the sepulchres of
her sages and heroes, and in searching out the
place where each had lived, and walked, and
held his disputations—in viewing the relics of 2(4)r 23
her noble, ancient architecture—her temples—
her sculpture――her genius and taste; and
though I expected to discover little comparatively,
of old Rome, yet the bare view of the place
where old Rome stood and her few noble remains
I fancied would be sufficient to assist my
imagination in portraying the rest. As for her
religion, Popery, though I knew some of its
superstitions, I knew comparatively little, and
intended to lose no time in noticing its ridiculous
ceremonies, but to devote myself to searching
out her antiquities. But my first impressions
were such, that I soon found myself
regarding the Romish worship with particular
I found Popery, as it is exercised in Italy, so
nearly resembling the Paganism of old Rome,
that, while witnessing her religious ceremonies,
I am continually reminded of some passage in
a classic author where a similar ceremony was
performed in the same form and manner, and in
the same place. I can scarcely refrain from
fancying myself the spectator of some solemn act
of ancient idolatry, rather than witnessing an
act of religious worship under the title of Christianity.
The first time I entered a church
here, the smoke and smell of incense streaming
from its numerous altars, transported me at once
to the description of Paphian Venus, in the first
Aeneid“Her hundred altars there with garlands crown’d,And richest incense smoking, breathed around;Sweet orders,” &c. 2(4)v 24
And when I saw the little boy in surplice in
the church of Rome, waiting upon the Priest at
the altar with the vessel of incense and other
sacred utensils, how could I but be reminded of
a heathen sacrifice?
Nobody ever goes in or out of a church here
without being sprinkled with holy water, by the
priest who attends for that purpose, or else he
serves himself with it, from a vessel placed inside
the door resembling our baptismal fonts. Now
this custom is strictly derived from a heathen

“May I interrupt your reading, Mrs. Athearn,
to inquire what holy water is?”
said one of
the younger girls.

Mrs. A. “Certainly; I wish you all to feel
liberty in asking questions. I have been told the
holy water is nothing more than a simple mixture
of salt and water, applied with what is called a
sprinkling brush. The priests affirm that great
virtue and benefit result from its use, both to
soul and body, and they produce a long roll of
to attest it. But I will go on with the

“‘I was present at one solemnity which was
entirely novel to me. I never saw any notice
of anything similar to it in heathen worship,
and conclude it to be an extravagance reserved
for Popery alone. It is a yearly festival, celebrated 2(5)r 25
in January, to which I allude, called the
benediction of horses ――’”

“The what, Mrs Athearn?” said little Alice,
very eagerly, “did I understand you to
say, the benediction of horses?”

Mrs. A. “Yes, my dear; so the letter says. ‘It was commemorated with great solemnity.
All the inhabitants of the city and neighbourhood
sent up their horses, asses, and other cattle to
the convent of St. Anthony, where a priest in
surplice sprinkled the animals separately,
with his brush as they were presented to him;
saying in Latin“Through the intercession of
the Blessed Anthony Abate, these animals are
freed from all evils, in the name of the Father,
of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost—Amen.”
received in return, a fee proportioned to the
ability of the owner.’”

“How will people endure such priestcraft!
How can they submit to such imposition!”
Miss Ellen Thornton.

Mrs. A. “It is strange, surely, that the Roman
Catholic priests could ever obtain such ascendency
over any people, as to suffer themselves to be
so duped; but no doubt this absurd custom was
the source of great revenue to the priesthood.”

“The letter proceeds to say:— ‘I was amazed at such a display of lamps and 2(5)v 26
wax-candles as I find constantly burning before
the shrines and images of their saints. Many
of these lamps are of massy silver; some, even
of gold, the gifts of princes and other distinguished
personages. The number of offerings, too,
presented in consequence of vows made in time
of danger, and in gratitude for deliverance, and
cures, hanging up in the churches, is so great as
really to be quite offensive, and obstruct the
sight of something more valuable and ornamental.
These offerings consist in a great measure
of arms and legs, and little figures of wood or
wax, and sometimes fine pictures describing the
manner of the deliverance, obtained by the
miraculous interposition of the saint invoked,
&c. As I was examining these various offerings,
I could not but recollect an anecdote told
by Cicero, of one, who, having found an atheistical
friend in a temple, said, “You, who think the
gods take no notice of human affairs, do you not
see here by this number of pictures, how many
people for the sake of their vows have been
saved in storms at sea, and got safe into harbor?”

“Yes,” says the atheist, “I see how it is; for
those are never painted, who happen to be
The Church of Loretto I find has become
as famous for its riches, acquired by offerings of
vessels, lamps, statues, diamonds, precious
stones, &c., as Appollo’s temple at Delphi was
among the ancients. I have visited many of the
temples in this city, originally built by the heathen 2(6)r 27
Romans to the honor of the Pagan deities,
and as I passed by the shrines once filled by
some old heroes, now occupied by the statues
of saints, I have thought, how much less criminal,
Oh! ye people, will ye be found who worship
these images of the Pope’s erection, than
those who bowed down to the idols of Nebuchadnezzar?
I have learned some curious facts
in relation to these very images of Saints. In
some of the temples, I find they have not been
at the trouble to change the old images of their
heathen ancestors—they have only baptized
them with a Christian name, and pass them off
for some distinguished saints, which, by the
by, if the truth was known, has been found
never to have existed. I was even shown in the
temple of St. Agnes, an ancient statue of a
young Bacchus, which has received a new name
and some change of drapery, and is now worshipped
under the title of a female saint!
The Pantheon, or Rotunda, the most noble
heathen temple in the world, dedicated of old by
Agrippa to “Jove and all the gods,” was re-consecrated
by Pope Boniface 4th, to the “blessed
virgin and all the saints;”
so in many others,
they have only pulled down one idol to set up
another—as the temple of Romulus, and Remus,
now dedicated to two other brothers,
Cosmas and Damianus. In some instances
where they have converted “the profane worship
of the gentiles to the pure and sacred worship
of the church
as they say, they have had 2(6)v 28
regard in the change to a similitude of name
between the old and new idol; as in the place
where the temple of Apollo formerly stood, now
stands the church of Apollinaris, built there as
they tell us, that the profane name of that deity
might be converted into the “glorious name of
this martyr.”
Where the church of Mars stood
also, a church is now erected to Martina, with
this inscription— “Mars hence expelled—Martina, martyred maidClaims now the worship which to him was paid.”
I am told that numberless are the forgeries of
saints and relics which have been imposed for
genuine, on the poor ignorant people.
They pretend to show here at Rome, two
original impressions of our Saviour’s face on
two different pocket handkerchiefs—one, it is
said, was presented by himself to Agbarus,
Prince of Edessa, and the other to a holy woman,
named Veronica, at the time of his execution,
(the handkerchief she lent him to wipe his
face on that occasion.) One of these is preserved
in St. Sylvester’s church; the second in
St. Peter’s.
I could tell you many more of the absurdities
and superstitions of the Romish church, but
time prevents now. I shall write you again
soon; will then mention more facts, which I
know to be true, and give you a faithful description
of what I have seen with my own eyes in
this Babylon, this city of abominations.
3(1)r29You will be surprised at receiving so minute
a statement of things relative to religious matters,
and so few on other subjects, but I know
Rome’s state, in a moral view, will possess more
interest for you, than aught else of her I could
I must close—Yours, my brother in Christian love and
Henry Sturtevant.’”

Mrs. Athearn now paused, and the interval
between the reading of this and the succeeding
letter, was occupied in adjusting some pieces of
deranged work, and examining others presented
for inspection. One of the ladies stated, “she
was entirely ignorant of the peculiar doctrines
which characterized the Romish church.”
inquired, “whether the necessity of the
Reformation was caused by error in the faith,
or corruption in the worship
of the church; or
in other words, whether the doctrinal belief of
the then Christian church, had become perverted
and fundamentally wrong, or whether an
undue conformity to the absurd and heathenish
customs of their pagan ancestors had, as it were,
insensibly intermingled with, and corrupted the
external worship of Christians.”

Mrs. A. “Oh, the disease was at the vitals;
one error in the faith of the church had crept in
after another from the ascension of Christ, till
the principles of the holy religion of Jesus, had,
as I have told you, become so incorporated with 3 3(1)v 30
the devices of wicked men, and the suggestions
of the adversary of souls, that little of the purity
and simplicity of doctrine and practice, either
remained—and where purity in faith is wanting,
purity in life will not be found.”

“And now to answer your inquiries, Miss Ellis,
I will state some of the peculiar doctrines of
Romish faith; you can consult your Bible, and
see if they are found there at all—and if so,
wherein they have become perverted.
The first articles of belief I shall name, as
they are fundamental points, the corner stone,
as I may say, of Popery, are the supremacy and
infallibility of the Pope.”

“But, Mrs. Athearn, there is nothing about
the Pope in the Bible, is there?”
asked little
Emily Brown.

Mrs. Athearn. “Roman Catholics confess
that, in Scripture, there is no express mention
of the Pope, only St. Peter; but they affirm,
that Peter was the Prince of the Apostles—that
he was settled Bishop of Rome, and as such was
Head and Sovereign of the church
—and that he
left the same power to his successors in that See.”

“But in fact there is nothing in the Bible concerning
the Pope, and as little of St. Peter as
Head of the church; and nothing from beginning
to end, of any others as succeeding in that
The passage on which the Romish church
lay the greatest stress in proof of the Pope’s
supremacy, is in INTERNAL ERROR. Please report to wwp@neu.edu that regMe is unmatched.Matthew. I will read it.”
3(2)r 31

Mrs. Athearn drew a neat little Testament
from her pocket, (for she always carried one
about her, so that in case of a moment’s leisure,
she could seize at least a morsel of the bread of
life,) and read in INTERNAL ERROR. Please report to wwp@neu.edu that regMe is unmatched.Matt., chap. 16th, from the
15th to the 20th verses.

“15 He saith unto them, but whom say ye that
I am
16 And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou
art the Christ, the Son of the living God.
17 And Jesus answered and said unto him,
Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona, for flesh and
blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my
Father which is in heaven.
18 And I say also unto thee, that thou art Peter,
and upon this rock I will build my church
and the gates of hell shall not prevail against
19 And I will give unto thee the keys of the
kingdom of heaven; and whatsoever thou shalt
bind on earth shalt be bound in heaven; and
whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be
loosed in heaven.”
Here is the great foundation
of the whole Popish structure.

Ellen Athearn. “A structure whose base is
laid in the sand, mother, I should think; how
strange it seems to me that any person should
attempt to prove that in the phrase ‘upon this
reference was had to Peter, constituting
him the foundation of the church, and as such,
its sovereign and head. It appears so evident 3(2)v 32
Christ had reference to Peter’s recent confession,
‘Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living
in the second verse you read. We
know that faith in Christ the Saviour is the
on which all our hope of salvation is

“But,” said one young lady, “one verse you
read says, ‘And I will give unto thee the keys
of the kingdom of heaven, and whatsoever thou
shalt bind on earth shalt be bound in heaven,’

&c. that looks like a reference to Peter.”

Mrs. Athearn. “Not an exclusive one, however;
for in the very next chapter but one,
verse 18th, we read, ‘Verily I say unto you,
whatsoever ye’
(referring to all the apostles)
‘shall bind on earth, shall be bound in heaven;
and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be
loosed in heaven.’
We read also in INTERNAL ERROR. Please report to wwp@neu.edu that regMe is unmatched.Ephesians,
ii. 20
, that we ‘are built upon the foundation of
the apostles and prophets.’
I have searched
the gospels diligently, and I find no precedence
or power, conferred on Peter by Christ above
the other apostles, nor any such power acknowledged
by them. Indeed, quite the contrary
appears. I can name several facts which go
to prove them entirely unconscious, or disregardful
of the infallibility and supremacy which
the Roman pontiffs have claimed as hereditary
from him. Look at INTERNAL ERROR. Please report to wwp@neu.edu that regMe is unmatched.Acts, xi. 2, 3.—‘And when
Peter was come up to Jerusalem, they that were
of the circumcision contended with him; saying
thou wentest in to men uncircumcised, and 3(3)r 33
didst eat with them.’
Also, at INTERNAL ERROR. Please report to wwp@neu.edu that regMe is unmatched.Galatians, ii. 11.
‘But when Peter was come to Antioch, I
(Paul) withstood him to the face, because he was
to be blamed.’”

“Do these texts prompt the belief that the disciples
were aware of Peter’s infallibility?
The apostles treated him at all times as an
equal; they disputed among themselves who
should be greatest—they must even have forgotten
the deference they owed him as sovereign,
when they sent him a delegate to Samaria. INTERNAL ERROR. Please report to wwp@neu.edu that regMe is unmatched.Acts,
viii. 14
; and he himself could not have been as
tenacious of his dignity, as his successors have
showed themselves.
We should rather be inclined to assign the
supremacy to Paul, if any of the apostles, from
INTERNAL ERROR. Please report to wwp@neu.edu that regMe is unmatched.2 Cor. xi. 28. ‘Besides those things that are
without that which cometh upon me daily, the
care of all the churches.’
INTERNAL ERROR. Please report to wwp@neu.edu that regMe is unmatched.I. Cor. vii. 17. ‘And
so ordain I in all the churches.’
With regard to Peter’s having been settled
Bishop at Rome, it has not yet been satisfactorily
proved that Peter was ever there, though
many have attempted to do it.
One Roman Catholic writer on this point
confesses, ‘the Scripture does not mention it,’
but ‘tradition does; we believe it upon tradition,
as we do other things of the utmost concern.’”

Miss Andrews. “Tradition is almost as authentic
among Roman Catholics, as the revelation3* 3(3)v 34
of Scripture itself, is it not, Mrs. Athearn?”

Mrs. A. “Yes, quite as much so.”

Ellen. “Mother, can you tell us where and in
this great item of infallibility lies? Is the
Pope infallible in his private opinions, or only in
his public decisions?”

Mrs. A. “Papists do not agree among themselves
exactly where to fix it. Whether it is in
the ‘Pope alone in the chair, or in general
council, or in both conjunct, or in the diffusive
body of Christians, has been matter of dispute.’”

“Most incline to the opinion that this infallibility
must be restrained to the public authoritative
decisions of the Pope, ‘when he proposes
and determines articles of faith—decides controversies,
and adjudges what is to be believed
and practised by the whole church as necessary
to salvation.’
Most glaring arguments against
the infallibility of the Roman pontiff meet the
eye on the very threshold of investigation. In
the first place, the earliest Popes for several centuries,
disclaimed all pretensions to infallibility.
Several of the Roman pontiffs have been vile,
profligate wretches—the history of their lives is
such as would mark them the vicegerents of the
Prince of darkness, rather than the vicars of
our Lord Jesus Christ. We have many instances
on record where two and at one time three
claimed equal authority at the same time—Pope
against Pope, claiming the Papal chair, infallibility
and all. Frequently do we find one infallible
Pope condemning and disannulling the 3(4)r 35
declarations and decrees of his predecessors
equally infallible. The texts of Scriptureflawed-reproduction4-5 letters
which Papists rest for support in this doctrine,
are so perverted and inappropriate, that I shall
not trouble myself to mention them to you; indeed
I have said sufficient on this head. I shall
only slightly touch upon any of their doctrines
for want of time, and because I hope we, who
have been nourished beneath the blazing light
of the gospel in this Christian land, shall never
so far forsake the law and the testimony which
we hold in our hands and can search for ourselves,
as to embrace doctrines so absurd, and
so unsuited to the humility of the low estate
into which sin has reduced us, as these. But
the allusion I just made to the Scriptures reminds
me of another doctrine, of equally pernicious
tendency with the others. I mean, that
‘their church has a power and even sovereignty
over the Scriptures.’
One says, ‘Take away the authority of the
church, and no man can be assured that any
one book or parcel of Scripture was written by
Divine Inspiration.’
Another of their famous
Doctors asserts, ‘the church is of greater antiquity
than the Scripture, nor is the Scripture
authentic, but by the authority of the church.’

Another affirms, ‘all the authority which the
Scripture now has, depends upon the authority
of the church.’
One, still more bold, declares,
‘the Scripture word signifies no more than
Æsop’s Fables, did not the church add its testimony 3(4)v 36
They take upon themselves to
decide what books you must receive as the word
of God, and setting aside the original Hebrew
and Greek, determine the vulgar Latin
translation is the only authentic copy; and to
cap all, the genuine reading of it must be received
from them.”

Miss Arnold. “Do the priests never grant
licenses to read the Scriptures?”

Mrs. A. “Yes, in some cases they do—but
only to those whom the confessor thinks fit for
so great a trust—to ‘such as shall receive no
damage by it, but rather an increase of faith.’

Supposing, however, a license should be obtained,
and the priests allow him to read the word of
God, he would find the copy placed in his hand
for perusal by his priest, to be a vulgate Latin
translation, abounding with errors—or, if in his
mother tongue even, so corrupted by the annotations
and marginal notes of the Popish pen, that
he would still be destitute of the pure word of
God. Few, however, in Roman Catholic countries
would dare to desire leave to read the Bible.”

Miss Andrews. “Why, Mrs. Athearn?”

Mrs. Athearn. “The simple request would be
sufficient to bring him under the suspicion of
heresy, and expose him to all the merciless discipline
and untold horrors of the Inquisition.”

Alice. “Mrs. Athearn, are not their copies
like our Bibles?”

Mrs. A. “No, Alice; great care has been 3(5)r 37
taken in their translations by omissions, interpolations,
annotations, and marginal notes, to
diffuse the tenets of their own church.”

“I can recollect a few of the gross corruptions
of the sacred Text, and from those you may
judge the tenor of the whole. In INTERNAL ERROR. Please report to wwp@neu.edu that regMe is unmatched.Acts, xiii. 2,
where is is said, ‘As they ministered to the
the translation reads, ‘When they had
offered to the Lord the sacrifice of the mass.’

Also, the INTERNAL ERROR. Please report to wwp@neu.edu that regMe is unmatched.1 Cor. iii. 15, where the Apostle
speaks of some, ‘being saved so as by fire,’
they render it ‘passing through the fire of purgatory.’
‘If the wicked do penance for all the sins
which he hath committed,’
&c. INTERNAL ERROR. Please report to wwp@neu.edu that regMe is unmatched.Ezek. xviii. 31.
‘Do penance, for the kingdom of heaven is at
INTERNAL ERROR. Please report to wwp@neu.edu that regMe is unmatched.Matt. iv. 7.‘that they should do penance
and turn to God, doing works worthy of
INTERNAL ERROR. Please report to wwp@neu.edu that regMe is unmatched.Acts, xxvi. 20. ‘There is some sin
which is not mortal but venial.’
INTERNAL ERROR. Please report to wwp@neu.edu that regMe is unmatched.1 John, v. 17.
I will mention two or three others and then I
have done.
‘And round about the throne there were
twenty-four thrones, and on the thrones twentyfour
priests seated, all clothed with albs.’”

“What are albs?” asked one little girl.

Mrs. A. “The alb is a part of the official
attire of a Roman Catholic priest.”

“I will name one or two texts more. ‘Now the Spirit speaketh expressly that in
the latter times some will separate themselves
from the Roman faith, giving themselves up 3(5)v 38
to spirits of error, and to doctrines taught by
Speaking false things through hypocrisy,
having also the conscience cauterized.’
‘Condemning the sacrament of marriage, the
abstinence from meats, which God hath created
for the faithful, and for those who have known
the truth, to receive them with thanksgiving.’

INTERNAL ERROR. Please report to wwp@neu.edu that regMe is unmatched.1 Tim. iv. 1—3. ‘Jacob worshipped, leaning
upon the top of his staff.’
INTERNAL ERROR. Please report to wwp@neu.edu that regMe is unmatched.Heb. xi. 21. Their
Bible has it, ‘Jacob worshipped the top of his

Miss Mary Andrews. “But, Mrs. Athearn,
what objections do Papists urge against the general
circulation of the Scriptures?”

Alice. “I am sure Christ in the Bible says,
‘Search the Scriptures.’”

Mary. “And I remember one of the Apostles
says, the Bereans ‘searched the Scripture daily
whether these things were so;’
and he said it
in an approving way.”

Mrs. A. “Yes; and the Colossians were exhorted
that ‘the word of God should dwell
richly in them.’
I cannot tell, I confess, why
the Roman Catholics are so jealous of the Bible,
unless they are unwilling to have their doctrines
and deeds examined by the clear and pure light
of the gospel.”

“They profess, however, to fear that the unrestrained
and unassisted use of the Scriptures
would lead to a perversion and misunderstanding
of its sacred meaning.
3(6)r 39 I believe Cardinal Ximenes was right when
he said—‘the having of the Bible in the vulgar
language would be the ruin of their religion.’
We cannot be sufficiently thankful, my dear
young ladies, that God has permitted us to live
and prepare for eternity beneath the pure and
glorious light of the gospel—that we live, not in
the twilight, but in the full blaze of revelation—
that we have free access to the panoply of the
gospel, and may gird ourselves, unrestrained
and unreproved, with the whole sacred armor by
which we may ‘fight the good fight of faith,’
and come off ‘more than conquerors through
him that loved us,’
and washed us in his own
blood, and will allow us, unworthy as we are, to
dwell in his presence and rejoice in the fullness
of his joy forevermore.
And do not let us forget those who sit in the
region of darkness and superstition, deceived
and deluded by that ‘man of sin,’ ‘the son of
‘who opposeth and exalteth himself
above all that is called God, or that is worshipped;’
who, ‘as God, sitteth in the temple of
God showing himself that he is God.’
INTERNAL ERROR. Please report to wwp@neu.edu that regMe is unmatched.2 Thess.
ii. 3, 4

Miss Andrews. “I remember reading the text
you just repeated in the Bible many times, but
it never struck me as at this moment. How
exactly it answers the description you have just
given us of the Roman pontiff!”

Miss Ellis. “Precisely; do you not suppose 3(6)v 40
Papal power to be the antichrist of which Scripture

Mrs. A. “Many think so. Read the canon
law which says—”

“Please to tell me, Mrs. Athearn,” said little
Alice, “what the canon law is?”

Mrs. A. “The orders or decrees of the Pope,
published from time to time, as occasion requires,
are styled the canon law. That says,
the Pope is as much above kings, as the sun is
above the moon. INTERNAL ERROR. Please report to wwp@neu.edu that regMe is unmatched.The 5th and 6th verses of the
8th Psalm
‘Thou hast crowned him with
glory and honor,’
&c., Papists say are intended
to mean ‘the power given to Peter and his successors
in the See of Rome, to whom God has
subjected the sheep, (i.e. Christians,) the oxen, (i.e. Pagans,) the fishes of the sea, (i.e. the souls in purgatory,) the souls in heaven, (i.e. the blessed
spirits and angels.)’
Look at another canon
law, running thus, ‘we affirm the decree, that
every human creature be subject to the Pope of
, and that this is absolutely necessary to
The absolute and unquestioned
temporal, as well as spiritual power, claimed for
several centuries previous to the Reformation
by this lord and monarch of the world, excommunicating
and deposing crowned heads—interdicting
and giving away kingdoms, &c.――”

“Why, it is almost incredible what indignities
have been tamely endured from the Pope by
emperors and kings.”

4(1)r 41

Mary Andrews. “What indignities, Mrs.

Mrs. A. “It is said that Pope Celestin
crowned Henry VI. Emperor at Rome, not with
his hands but with his feet, and when he had
done, kicked the crown off his head again, saying
‘he had power to create emperors and to
depose them.’
This is but a sample.”

“All the adoration paid this head of the church
—the titles he assumes and claims at his coronation,
as father of princes and kings, governor
of the world,
vicar on earth of our
Saviour Jesus Christ,
&c.—I say, all these
things look like exalting himself above all that is
called God or that is worshipped.
The miracles,
&c. attendant on papacy seem to bear a strong
resemblance to the ‘signs and lying wonders,’
INTERNAL ERROR. Please report to wwp@neu.edu that regMe is unmatched.2 Thess. ii. 9, prophetically attendant on the
‘man of sin.’ Search into the moral arcana of
the court of Rome, and you would soon seem
to find the ‘mystery of iniquity.’ INTERNAL ERROR. Please report to wwp@neu.edu that regMe is unmatched.2 Thess.
ii. 7
. He is represented as ‘drunken with the
blood of the saints’
INTERNAL ERROR. Please report to wwp@neu.edu that regMe is unmatched.Rev. xvii. 5, &c.; and
when I have unfolded to you the persecutions
and cruelties and horrors which the Reformation
disclosed, you will recognize still more
clearly, I think, the antichrist, by the fruits.”

Miss Ellis. “But, Mrs. Athearn, does the
Pope exercise absolute power now, as formerly?”

Mrs. A. “No; it is more than 500 years
since the Pope began to decline in power; 4 4(1)v 42
crowned heads have renounced his tyranny, and
the pillars of his kingdom totter even to their
base. But still he is busy; he is carefully and
secretly working in every land, even in this—
flattering himself that though foiled once, he
shall yet succeed, and striving by the art and
wariness of Jesuitical influence, and the powerful
support of basely earned treasures extorted
from superstitious devotees, to seduce the youthful
hope of our country into his deceitful wiles.”

Miss Marvin. “But you have no fear, Mrs.

Mrs. A. “For our own New England none
at all. The spirit of our forefathers is not yet
lethargic quite, and the mass of our population
is too enlightened, and has rallied beneath the
banner of liberty too long to be easily beguiled
by the superstitions and fopperies of Romanism,
or tamely to yield themselves slaves to priestcraft
and spiritual tyranny. But for our beautiful
western valley, sleeping and waking, I fear.
It remains for the Christians of this generation
to decide what moral influence shall be exerted
there—whether the banner of Immanuel shall
be unfurled on its prairies, and its clustering
thousands proclaim allegiance to Jesus, or to
the Pope of Rome.”

Mrs. Athearn’s voice fell as she closed this
last remark, with that peculiar cadence which
foretells a period to conversation for the present
—a new train of deep, painful, but profitable
thoughts seemed to be stirring within the young 4(2)r 43
hearts around her, which she was unwilling to
dissipate; and after a few moments’ pause, she
proposed to close the occupations and amusement
of the evening in her usual way—by reading
a psalm, and leading the evening devotions
of her pupils in a short prayer—promising to
resume the same subject the next evening.


Chapter III.

When all were again assembled, their work
allotted and things arranged, Mrs. Athearn drew
the following letter from the packet, and read
thus: My dear brother,—I received your welcome
letter last evening, and most cheerfully devote
these, my first leisure moments since, to gratify
the wish you expressed to be more particularly
informed of some of the religious ceremonies of
the Romish church. My curiosity has led me
oftentimes to be a witness of various solemnities,
and I will strive to detail the observations I
made, and the information I have gained, with
as much particularity as my time will allow.
Soon after I despatched my last letter to you,
I spent two or three days in visiting the several
churches and noticing particularly every thing
connected with Romish worship which caught
my eye. Some of the numerous paintings which
adorn the altars I examined—they were very 4(3)r 45
beautiful; indeed I never saw any, that could
compare with them for beauty of execution. I
became less surprised, as I gazed at them with
admiration myself, at the reverence, solemnity
and enthusiastic admiration with which they
inspired those who had received from nature an
eye to observe, and a heart to feel keenly the
beauties of this art—especially when I considered
the ignorance and superstition of Papal
worship which had shrouded them from infancy,
and led them to mistake these natural sensibilities
of a discriminating taste for true devotion and
holy love to the being whom they represented.
The pomp and glory of the worship of this
church is wonderfully calculated to awe and
amuse the minds of a superstitious people. The
costly paintings—the images of saints, enriched
with gold and pearl—the costly habits of the
officiating priests—the choice vocal and instrumental
music—the public processions and parades
—in short, every thing combines, by its
magnificence, to win the attention and confidence
of an unthinking people.
But I am more and more astonished at the
gross frauds, practised in connection with supposed
relics, and the credulity of people in
regard to them. Among other relics which
they pretend to show here, are the heads of St.
and St. Paul
, encased in silver busts,
set with jewels—a lock of the Virgin Mary’s
hair—a phial of her tears—a piece of her green
petticoat—a robe of Jesus Christ, sprinkled with 4* 4(3)v 46
his blood—some drops of his blood in a bottle—
and some of the water which flowed out of the
wound in his side—the nails used in the crucifixion
—and a piece of the very same porphyry
pillar on which the cock perched when he crowed
after Peter’s denial of Christ—the rods of
Moses and Aaron
—and two pieces of the wood
of the real ark of the covenant
. Many of the
churches are most abundantly supplied with
relics of a similar character—there is one in
Spain, I understand, which possesses eleven
, among which are several of our Saviour;
a sacred hair of his most holy head is
preserved in a vase—several pieces of his cross—
thirteen thorns of his crown
— and a piece of the
manger in which he was born
. There are many
relics also of the Virgin Marythree or four
pieces of one of her garments
— and a relic of the
handkerchief with which she wiped her eyes at
the foot of the cross, &c.
But enough of this.
I have witnessed no service in the Roman
Catholic church so impressive as the evening
service to the Virgin or the Ave Maria. “Silence
reigns throughout the city—not a wheel
or hoof is heard; even the low hum of human
voices ceases when the chimes of the vesper
bell have pealed. The merchant leaves his unfinished
bargain—the voice of trifling and mirth
is hushed—the porter leaves his burden on the
cathedral steps—all quit their occupation and
amusements, and if near, hasten with the multitude
to offer up the prayer of a moment to the 4(4)r 47
Virgin. The organ’s sweetly swelling notes
come soothingly on the ear, as the crowd disperse
through the church—suddenly a small
bell tinkles—every head bows and every knee
bends. Not a sound within or without disturbs
the spirit of supplication, which lasts two or
three moments, when again the bell tinkles—
the congregation rise and disperse—the tapers
are extinguished—the hum of labor again commences,
and the world resumes her wonted
It would be a vain attempt, were I to undertake
to tell you the number of saints and angels
who share in the devotions of this superstitious
people; indeed they are countless. And as
every Pope takes the liberty of introducing one
or several into the calendar of saints during his
Pontificate, we need not wonder at the man
who said on visiting one of these Papal cities,
“it was easier to find a god, than a man in it.”
But I am perfectly amazed at the extravagant
honors and blasphemous adoration paid the
Virgin Mary. They have in fact highly exalted
her, and given her a name above every name—
I doubt whether their worship (even nominal)
of the blessed Saviour exceeds that of the
Churches and chapels are consecrated to her
service—five solemn festivals are annually paid
to her honor, besides one day in every week set
apart as especially for her worship as Saturday 4(4)v 48
is for the Son. There are also seven hours in
each day, called the seven canonical hours,
which her most industrious worshippers devote
to her service.
From childhood, the Roman Catholic is
taught to cherish for her the most profound reverence
and the strongest affection. He addresses
his prayers to her as being the “queen of heaven”
and the “mother of God”—as “being all powerful
to obtain from God by her intercessions all
she shall ask of him.”
A Catholic school-book
inculcates this sentiment: “Being mother of
God, he cannot refuse her request; being our
mother, she cannot deny our intercession when
we have recourse to her—our necessities urge
her—the prayers we offer her for our salvation
bring us all that we desire—never any person
invoked the mother of mercies in his necessities,
who has not been sensible of the effects of her
Among the reasons given why
we should apply to the Virgin for salvation
rather than to Christ, I have heard these two
named— that “she being a woman is more tender-hearted”
—and “being a real mother is
therefore indulgent.”
Such petitions as these
following are addressed to her in the devotions
of her worshippers: “Succor the miserable,”
“help the faint-hearted,” “comfort the afflicted,”
“loosen the sinner’s bands,” “bring light unto the blind,” “our lusts and passions quell,”
“preserve our lives unstained,” “guard us,” 4(5)r 49 “deliver us from all dangers,” “lead us to life
and innumerable others of similar
Now, to whom, my dear brother, but a Power
possessing all the attributes claimed by Divinity
itself, should we think mortal man would address
such service? and yet after all this, and
in the midst of all this, they affirm that they
worship “the one only and true God,” and that
“Him alone they serve.”
I find in the conclusion of the Biblia Mariæ,
the Bible of the Virgin Mary, (for you must know
she has one composed and provided for her
especial service,) a prayer of this sort: “Oh
Queen of mercy, grace and glory! Empress of
all the creatures, blot out all my transgressions
and lead me to life everlasting!”
I have been told, that, in a procession made
here a few years ago, the following inscription
was placed over the gate of one of the principal
“The Gate of celestial benefit. The Gate
of salvation. Look up to the Virgin herself.
Whosoever shall find me will find life, and
draw salvation from the Lord. For there is
no one who can be delivered from evils
but through thee—there is no one from whom
we can obtain mercy but through thee.”
I will just add a part of the litany of our 4(5)v 50
Lady of Loretto, to show you the extent of
their extravagant and blasphemous adoration:
“Holy Mary.Holy Mother of God.Holy Virgin of Virgins.Mother of Christ.Mother of divine grace.Mother most pure.Mother most chaste.Mother undefiled.Mother untouched.Mother most amiable.Mother most admirable.Mother of our Creator.Mother of our Redeemer.Pray for us.Virgin most prudent.Virgin most venerable.Virgin most renowned.Virgin most powerful.Virgin most merciful.Virgin most faithful.Mirror of justice.Seat of Wisdom.Cause of our joy.Spiritual vessel.Vessel of honor.Vessel of singular devotion.Mystical rose.Tower of David.Tower of Ivory.House of Gold.4(6)r51Ark of the covenant.Gate of Heaven.Morning star.Health of the weak.Refuge of sinners.Comfort of the afflicted.Pray for us.Help of Christians.Queen of angels.Queen of patriarchs.Queen of prophets.Queen of apostles.Queen of martyrs.Queen of confessors.Queen of virgins.Queen of all saints.”I saw a gentleman the other day who was so
fortunate as to obtain a peep at the blessed
lady’s wardrobe, and by his telling, she is most
splendidly equipped. Her treasures are immense,
owing to the numberless presents she
receives from Papists of wealth and distinction,
from pilgrims, who give according to their ability,
and worshippers numberless, more or less
devout, who vow and forget not to pay their
vows. She performs countless miracles of cures
and deliverances, &c. and the grateful recipients
of course fail not to remember her fees.
The Virgin herself is a statue about four and a
half feet high. I have not time for a very
minute description of her person, altar, &c. but 4(6)v 52
must content myself with saying they are decked
with the most brilliant ornaments—the richest
it is said, of any in the world.
She wears a golden crown, set with precious
stones of inestimable value—her fingers glisten
with rings, and her neck is tastefully adorned
with several chains of gold, to which medals and
hearts of gold are appended, presents from
devout Catholic princes. She has changes of
clothes for all work-days, holidays and Sundays,
of all colors, and even a suit of mourning for
I have not time to say more of the idolatrous
worship paid the Virgin Mary—yet I have
given you scarce an idea of its extent; were I
to tell you half the extravagances I have seen
and heard, you would believe I had made shipwreck
of the credit for truth which I used to
have, and would be incredulous of all I have
yet to say on other points—but this much I
must affirm: the half has not been told.’”

“Excuse my interrupting you, Mrs. Athearn,”
said one of the young ladies, “but I have heard
it said, Papists deny the charge of idolatry—
what else can they call all this? What more is
necessary to make it so? How do you define
idolatry, Mrs. Athearn?”

Mrs. A. “I should define idolatry to be
strictly, setting up a creature as the object of
worship. But Papists deny the charge of creature-worship, 5(1)r 53
by saying, they do not offer to
saints and angels the honor which belongs to
God; they use them only as mediators and intercessors
, sinful as they are, they dare
not approach the holy God, except through their
mediation and intercession. They say ‘it is
good and useful, suppliantly to invoke them and
to have recourse to their prayers, help and assistance
to obtain favors from God,’
to ‘beg
they would be their advocates, and obtain from
God what they stand in need of.’”

Alice. “But is that right, Mrs. Athearn?”

Mrs. A. “What does your Bible say, Alice,
about a Mediator?”

Alice. Fixing her large blue eyes on her
“I know, but I cannot think.”

Mrs. Athearn smiled, and said she wished she
could contrive to banish that soul-less knowledge,
which possessed so many of the minds of her
scholars—and then casting her mildly beaming
eye from face to face in the circle that surrounded
her, it rested on Miss Benson, and she inquired
of her; she clapped her hand to her
forehead, as if it were a talisman that could call
up the whole train of her thoughts and marshal
them in order-array before her, while she detected
the lurking thought she was pursuing,
and after a great knitting of the brows and
many grimaces, she mentioned this text: “There
is One Mediator between God and men, the
man Christ Jesus.”
INTERNAL ERROR. Please report to wwp@neu.edu that regMe is unmatched.1 Tim. ii. 5.

The young lady who sat next her said, “Jesus 5 5(1)v 54
is spoken of frequently in the Hebrews
as ‘the Mediator.’”

Mrs. A. “Yes, there is one and we read of
but one Mediator with God; and there is nothing
whatever in the Holy Scriptures upon which to
ground the supposition that angels and glorified
saints are employed in mediations and intercessions
above. True, saints on earth are exhorted
and invited with promises of acceptance to
‘pray one for another;’ INTERNAL ERROR. Please report to wwp@neu.edu that regMe is unmatched.James, v. 16. but that is entirely
another question from the one of which we
were speaking.”

“Papists also deny the charge of worshipping
images, relics, pictures, &c. by affirming the
reverence paid to them is to the being represented,
and not to the representation. They say,
‘The images of Christ—of the Virgin-Mother
of God, and the other saints are to be kept and
retained particularly in the churches, and due
honor and veneration is to be paid them,’
what—‘not that we believe there is any divinity
or power
in them,’
they add.”

Miss Arnold. “But then what is their use?”

Mrs. A. “‘To quicken their memory’ and
‘affect their sentiments.’”

Miss Marvin. “But how can they denounce
their belief that there is any ‘divinity or power
in images,’
and still retain the Agnus Dei, and
speak as they do of it?”

Alice. “Agnus Dei—what is that?”

5(2)r 55

“I should think you would know, Alice,”
said a pedantic little Miss, opposite. “You
have tumbled over the leaves of a Latin dictionary
six months longer than I have, and yet
do not know what an Agnus Dei is!!”
and her
nose, which was rather a long one for a little
girl, became visibly shortened for the moment.

Alice. Blushing. “I know what the words
themselves mean. Agnus, means lamb or
the lamb, and Dei, is in the genitive case,
and means of God; and that is all I do
know. Is it really a lamb—or an image—or

All smiled; and never was a rose more delicately
tinted with its native pink, than was
every particle of mortality that was visible in
little Alice at the thought of being ignorant
hands scarcely excepted.

Mrs. Athearn looked kindly and compassionately
at her, and then, turning gravely to the
pert little prompter said, “I presume Miss
Charlotte Ellis
will be happy to answer you;
and to give us all information as to the nature
and use of the Agnus Dei.”
All eyes consequently
turned towards her a look of inquiry,
tinctured perhaps with somewhat of drollery,
and the little girl covered her face to hide a
tinge of shame. Mrs. Athearn made as long a
pause before conversation was resumed again,
as she thought necessary, to give her sense of
mortification time to do its thorough work, and
she then said—

5(2)v 56 “The Agnus Dei is a little image composed
of wax, balsam, and chrism, and takes its name
from the impression it bears of Christ, the Lamb
of God.
It is possessed of wonderful efficacy—so says
the Romish church. Its virtue is ‘to preserve
him who carries it, from any attempts of his
spiritual or temporal enemies; from the dangers
of fire, of water, of storms, and tempests of
thunder and lightning, and from a sudden and
unprovided death. It puts the devils to flight,
takes away the stains of past sins, and furnishes
us with new grace for the future, that
we may be preserved from all adversities and
perils, both in life and death, through the cross
and merits of the Lamb, who redeemed and
washed us in his blood.’
‘The Pope consecrates the Agnus Dei, the
first year of his Pontificate, and afterwards
on every seventh year, with many solemn ceremonies
and devout prayers.’
But after all—notwithstanding the sophistical
reasonings to which Papists resort to defend
themselves on the point alluded to, the veneration
of images is nothing less than idolatry.
Pagans make the same excuse for their idols, as
is now made by Papists,—that they use them
only as symbols, representations, &c. They
call them ‘signs of divine honor,’‘symbols
of the presence of the gods.’
‘We don’t
think them Gods, but that through them we may 5(3)r 57
worship the Deity,’
say they; yet Scripture
without hesitation calls them idolaters.
The Israelites made a molten calf, and sacrificed
to it: we cannot suppose for a moment
that they worshipped this calf as a God, the very
that had them delivered them out of Egypt.
All they meant undoubtedly was, to have a symbol
of God’s presence among them, instead of
Moses, when ‘they wot not what had become
of him.’
They worshipped Jehovah by this false
medium of their own devising. But was God
pleased? Did he approve their doings? No;
we are told ‘his wrath waxed hot against them’
—that they had ‘sinned a great sin,’ and
‘there fell of the people that day about three
thousand men.’
In like manner, Jeroboam, the son of Nebat,
when he set up the calves in Dan and Bethel,
was said to have been guilty of idolatry; and
his sin brought down the vengeance of heaven
upon himself and all his household.
In imitation of the cherubim in Solomon’s
Temple at Jerusalem, he consecrated his calves
to the end his people might adore God—supposing
God to dwell in his two temples at Dan
and Bethel, as well as at Solomon’s in Jerusalem;
yet God says, ‘Thou hast done evil
above all that were before thee, for thou hast
gone and made thee other Gods.’
The Lord our God is a jealous God.”

Miss Marvin. “I do not see what Papists can
do with the Second Commandment.”

5* 5(3)v 58

“‘Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven
image, or any likeness of anything that is in
heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or
that is in the water under the earth. Thou
shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve
them; for I, the Lord thy God, am a jealous
God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the
children unto the third and fourth generation of
them that hate me; and shewing mercy unto
thousands of them that love me, and keep my

Alice. “Oh, do tell us, Mrs. Athearn, how
they explain that.”

Mrs. A. “In all their catechisms, spelling-
books and works of small size, designed for the
use and instruction of youth, it is entirely suppressed.
In Butler’s Catechism, of extensive
use in Ireland, the First Commandment reads

“‘1. I am the Lord thy God; thou shalt
have no strange Gods before me.’
The second is entirely omitted, and for it you
‘2. Thou shalt not take the name of the
Lord thy God in vain.’”

Miss Arnold. “They have only nine commandments
then, I suppose.”

Mrs. A. “O yes, they have ten to be sure;
but are under the necessity of dividing the tenth
to make the number,—thus—”

“‘9. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s
5(4)r 59 10. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s
The Decalogue is abridged in the same way,
and inserted in Italian spelling-books, except
that the fourth commandment likewise is omitted,
and in its place,
‘Remember to keep holy the days of festivals.’”

“Mrs. Athearn,” said Miss Emmons, “I believe
the second commandment is inserted in
the Catholic catechisms and Bibles, which are
in circulation in America, although not entire;
if I recollect aright, it reads thus, in the place
of our First Commandment—”

“‘I am the Lord thy God, who brought thee
out of the land of Egypt, and out of the house
of bondage. Thou shalt have no strange Gods
before me. Thou shalt not make to thyself
any graven thing, nor the likeness of anything
that is in the heavens above, or in the earth
beneath, or in the waters under the earth. Thou
shalt not bow down to them nor serve them.’
So our first and second commandments are
blended to make one, and our third assumes the
place of our second. The tenth is abridged and
divided, as you named.”

Mrs. A. “The catechism you allude to is the
one, I suppose, newly revised for the use of
the Catholic church, in the Diocess of Boston.”

Miss Emmons. “The same.”

Mrs. A. “The reviser kept in mind, I dare 5(4)v 60
say, that he was in a Protestant country, and
has wisely adapted it to a Protestant meridian.
But Catholicism in New England is very different
from Popery in Rome, even as it now exists,
in its wane. Were Popery to tread our shores
in its present Romish garb, or even to give us a
tiptoe peep in all its Italic foppery, and barefaced
iniquity, all the bright hopes they now
indulge of adding America to the present territories
of Papal dominion, would be dashed at
once, and forever; and they know it.”

“But you cannot tell the extent of the extravagances
and the depth of the ‘mystery of iniquity,’
which was working when the dawn of the Reformation
began, form the communications I
have made to you, or the letters I have read. I
have purposely chosen to unveil Popery to you
in a twilight view, rather than in its meridian
blaze; in a modified state, than in its heathenish
blackness and darkness. I have delineated it,
as it existed midway from Luther’s time to the
present, because enough could be revealed even
at that time to show the imperious need of
withdrawal from a church, whose faith was so
perverted and whose practices were so corrupt
—because also I did not feel disposed to tax
your credulity to the degree necessary, had I
faithfully and minutely portrayed the length and
breadth of its corruptions. There are many
depths in the Popish system of religion, which
I would not myself fathom—much less would I 5(5)r 61
uncover the pit-falls and reveal its abuses and
horrible deformities to you.”

Miss Arnold. “Then you think, Mrs. Athearn,
the Papal system is not now as corrupt as it
was several centuries since?”

Mrs. A. “There has been certainly an external
reform in some of their practices. The
measures, which led to the Reformation, and
called the famous council of Trent, thoroughly
awakened the public mind, and dispelled that
indifference to the encroachments of spiritual
tyranny, which had so long remained undisturbed.
They excited the just jealousy of enlightened
men and prevented the increase of
such gross and bold abominations as had before
openly stalked abroad, and abolished, or sensibly
weakened the influence of those which already

“But the soul-destroying canker is still at the
root—it is a ‘wolf in sheep’s clothing’ still,—
but the results of that needful attack on Papal
power to thousands and millions of blinded
souls—to our forefathers—to us, and our happy
land are blessed. We sit beneath our own
vine and fig-tree, with no spiritual despotism to
molest or make us afraid.
We can sing the songs of Zion in the land
of our fathers, never yet shackled by the thraldom
of spiritual wickedness in high places.
We have the pure word of God, the only true
guide to blessedness, and are not compelled to 5(5)v 62
commit the sacred trust of our souls’ treasures
to the keeping of blind guides—to the sordid
hands of a corrupted priesthood.”

“But we seem quite to have forgotten the letter
we were reading,”
said Mrs. Athearn, “however,
before we resume it, I will make one remark in
connection with the subject of which we were lately speaking.”

“The sin of idolatry consists not alone in the
bowing of the knee before images, which earthly
hands have created and made, and the other
external acts of adoration, attendant on image-
worship. There may be no visible altar—no
outward act of devotion—no sacrifice;—all
things may externally deny to the gross eye of
man any homage but that which belongs to Him,
who ruleth in the heavens—all may appear like
the whited sepulchre without, beautiful,—and
yet the piercing eye of Jehovah, see many an
altar—many a heart sacrifice—many a soul-
bended knee to other gods than Him; not in
Pagan and Popish lands alone, but in the very blaze
of gospel light, and in the very spirit-temples,
which he destined for himself.”

“Even in this little circle, I fear, my dear young
ladies, that the eye of Infinite Holiness discerns
such worshippers. For all, who have not spiritually
bowed to God, do spiritually bow to self;
and earth-worshippers, self-idolaters, we are
assured in the Holy Scriptures, shall be as certainly
denied an entrance into the Holy City,
as the murderer and the thief.”
5(6)r 63

Mrs. Athearn paused; her attention was demanded
a few moments to the inspection of
work—and when all things were again in
order, she resumed the letter.


Chapter IV.

“‘Letter continued. I must describe to you, my dear brother,
some of the famous “miracles” performed by the
saints, images, relics, &c. They are really “wonderful.”
No saint, it seems, can be admitted into
the calendar, whatever may have been the sanctity
of his life, unless it can be testified that he
has wrought miracles.
The tales of visions, apparitions, and miracles
which are kept in circulation, and which
are, in fact, necessary to uphold such a system
of spiritual tyranny as the Popish religion is,
among a superstitious and ignorant people are
so absurd and monstrous, it would seem scarcely
possible they should gain any credence at all.
In several parts of Italy are shown the
marks of hands and feet on rocks and stones,
miraculously effected by the apparitions of some
of their saints. Several images have been
pointed out to me since I have been in Rome,
which on certain occasions have spoken—wept—
sweat and bled
. One of the images of our 6(1)r 65
Saviour, it was seriously averred, wept so profusely
before the sacking of Rome, as to “employ
all the good fathers in the monastery in wiping
its face.”
Before the picture of St. Dominic, it is affirmed,
that “great numbers of the dead have
been restored to life, and hundreds from the
agonies of death; the dumb, the blind, the deaf,
the lame have been cured, and all sorts of diseases
and mortal wounds miraculously healed.”

More than one hundred thousand pilgrims have
been known to come from different parts of Europe,
during the anniversary festival of this
saint, (from the --07-099th of July to the --08-099th of August,)
to pay their devotions and make their
offerings to this picture.
What is most wonderful of this picture is,
that the virgin Mary herself, attended by Mary
and St. Catherine, condescended to
come down from heaven three or four centuries
ago, to bring and introduce it to the special
notice of the papists. We must infer, as “the picture
itself came down from heaven”
, that it is imposed
on the people as the workmanship either of the
virgin Mary, some of the angels or saints, or of
God himself!! How shocking—outrageous!
Of Thomas A. Becket, perhaps as many miracles
are recorded as of any saint. It is said,
“he outdid Christ himself in this particular.”
Two volumes of them were preserved in Canterbury,
where his shrine flourished, and a book 6 6(1)v 66
has been published in France, containing an
account of two hundred and seventy. It is remarkable
that he works no miracles in England
where his bones are deposited, but works abundantly
in other countries.
St. Francis Xavier turned a sufficient
quantity of salt water into fresh to save the lives
of five hundred travellers, who were dying of
thirst, enough being left to allow a large exportation
to different parts of the world, where it
performed astonishing cures. St. Raymond
de Pennafort laid his cloak on the sea, and sailed
thereon from Majorca to Barcelona, a distance
of a hundred and sixty miles, in six hours.
At Mantua, I am told, there may be seen a
bottle of the “real blood” of Christ. It was dug
up a number of years since, in a box containing
a paper with an account of the circumstances of
its deposit. It seems one Longinus, a Roman
centurian, who was present at the crucifixion of
Christ, became converted and afterwards left
Judea for Mantua, carrying with him this phial
of blood; he buried the sacred relic, and was so
thoughtful as to enclose it in an envelope, stating
all these facts. It is very remarkable that the
writing, the box, the bottle, the blood and all
should be perfectly fresh as it was when found,
after lying in the ground sixteen centuries!!!’”

Miss Arnold. “Are miracles still performed
in Catholic countries?”

6(2)r 67

Mrs. A. “The days of miracles have yet,
by no means, passed away. Multitudes happen
every year, and private ones, which consist in
curing diseases, procuring prizes in the lottery,
coasting out devils, &c. are of daily occurrence.”

Mrs. Athearn laid the letter she had been
reading upon the table a moment—rose and selecting
a volume from the book-case beside her,
said—“The author of this interesting work,
entitled Rome in the nineteenth century,
(where you may see Italy and Catholicism as
they now exist, in a very amusing style,) speaks
of several which occurred during her visit there,
only fifteen or sixteen years since; and of other
recent miracles of which she received a faithful
account. She says in one of her letters, dated
1817-04-01 < x < 1817-05-01April 31, 1817—”

“‘Within this little month, three great miracles
have happened in Rome. One was of an
image of the virgin Mary, opening her eyes.
Another of a Madonna, An image of the virgin. who opened her mouth
instead of her eyes, and spoke to an old washer-
woman, to whom she imparted her discontent at
being so much neglected, and her chapel left in
such a dirty and ruinous condition: while so
many Madonnas, no better than she, had theirs
made as fine as hands could make them. The
Madonna spoke no more, but the old washer-woman 6(2)v 68
proved a very loquacious reporter of her
wishes and sentiments. The news of the miracle
spread like wild-fire; thousands (I am not
exaggerating) may be seen every day, crowding
to this little old chapel, near St. John’s Lateran,
about four in the afternoon, the hour at which
the virgin addressed the washer-woman, it being
supposed that this is her favorite time for conversation
—but I have not heard that she has
made any new observations. Not only the lower
orders, but crowds of well-dressed people, and
handsome equipages of all sorts, daily throng the
door, and the long green avenue that leads under
the walls to the Porta San Giovanni, instead
of an unbroken solitude now wears the appearance
of a cried fair.’
The description of another curious miracle
was communicated to her by a friend; I will
read you a relation of it in the author’s own
‘A certain friar had preached a sermon
during lent, upon the state of the man mentioned
in Scripture possessed with seven devils, with so
much eloquence and unction, that a simple countryman
who heard him, went home, and became
convinced that these seven devils had got
possession of him. The idea haunted his mind,
and subjected him to the most dreadful terrors,
till, unable to bear his suffering, he unbosomed
himself to his ghostly father and asked his counsel. 6(3)r 69
The father, who had some smattering of
science, bethought himself at last of a way to
rid the honest man of his devils. He told him
it would be necessary to combat with the devils
singly; and on the day appointed, when the
poor man came with a sum of money to serve
as a bait for the devil—without which, the good
father had forewarned him no devil could be
dislodged—he bound a chain, connected with
an electrical machine in an adjoining chamber,
round his body, lest, as he said, the devil should
fly away with him—and having warned him that
the shock would be terrible when the devil went
out of him, he left him praying devoutly before
an image of the Madonna, and after some time
gave him a pretty smart shock, at which the
poor wretch fell insensible on the floor from
terror. As soon, however, as he recovered, he
protested that he had seen the devil fly away out
of his mouth, breathing blue flames and sulphur,
and that he felt himself greatly relieved. Seven
electrical shocks, at due intervals, having extracted
seven sums of money from him, together
with the seven devils, the man was cured, and
a great miracle performed!’”

This account caused great mirth among the
young ladies, and it was some time before all
became again quiet. Mrs. Athearn then read
from the same author a description of a private
miracle wrought in effecting a cure from disease,
by the Bambino.

6* 6(3)v 70

“What is that, Mrs. Athearn?” asked Mary

Mrs. Athearn replied it was the image of the
infant Jesus. She says—

“‘The aforesaid Bambino was originally
brought down from heaven one night by an
angel, and is endowed with most miraculous
powers, and held in wonderful repute. I suppose
no physician in Rome has such practice,
or such fees. When people are in extremity of
sickness, it is sent for, and comes to visit them
in a coach, attended by one of the friars. One
of our Italian servants assured me it had cured
her of a fever, when all the doctors had given
her up—and I firmly believe it did, for upon
inquiry I found that the doctors resigning her to
the care of the Bambino, discontinued their
visits and medicines. The six blisters they had
put on were allowed to be taken off; she got
neither wine nor broth and drank nothing but
pure water to relieve her thirst. After hearing
this account, I was no longer surprised at the
Bambino’s well-earned reputation for curing

Mrs. Athearn laid down the volume from
which she had read the preceding extracts, and
resumed the letter; it ran thus—

,―― You will see from the above date, my dear 6(4)r 71
brother, that this letter has lain untouched several
days. I have been so completely engaged
in the continued round of ceremonies, which
engross the hearts and time of this people during
the “holy week” as to leave me no leisure to
finish the accounts I have already begun.
Rome is filled with pilgrims, and all the churches
with worshippers—devout ones—save here and
there a heretic, whose curiosity, like mine, has
led him to mingle with the crowd, and follow
the footsteps of the multitude through the endless
absurdities, which tread hard on the heels of
each other.
Processions of penitents are seen silently
winding their way along the streets, clothed in
long dark robes, preceded by a black cross, and
bearing in their hands skulls, and bones, and
contribution-boxes for souls in purgatory.
A most superb procession took place on the
morning of the festa of the annunciation, which
I, with thousands of others, ran to see.
The Pope, riding on a white mule, (I suppose
to imitate our Saviour’s entry at Jerusalem,)
came attended by his horse-guards who rode
before to clear the way, mounted on prancing
black horses and accompanied by such a flourish
of trumpets and kettle-drums as to wear far
more of the appearance of a martial parade than
of a religious proceeding. All were dressed in
splendid full uniform, and in every cap waved a
myrtle sprig, the sign of rejoicing. The cardinals
followed; and the rear was brought up 6(4)v 72
by a bare-headed priest on a mule, with the host
in a golden cup, the sight of which operated
like a talisman on every soul around me, (for
every knee bent,) save here and there one, who
like myself stood heretically amid the kneeling
mass, looking about panic-struck at this magic-
like movement.
The Pope himself was clothed in robes of
white and silver, and as he passed along the
crowds of gazing people that lined the streets and
filled the windows, he forgot not incessantly to
repeat his benediction—a twirl of three fingers,
typical of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost,—
the little finger representing the latter.
Many tiresome ceremonies followed his
entry into the church. He was seated on his
throne; all the cardinals successively approached
—kissed his hand—retired a step or two—
gave three low nods—one to him in front, as
personifying God, the Father, one to the right,
intended for the Son; and one to the left for the
Holy Ghost.
I am sure, my dear brother, as this ceremony
passed, the blood curdled in my veins—I was
transfixed to the spot. I saw not what passed
without me, but this text of holy writ stood like
letters of fire, glaring upon me from within.—
“Who, as God, sitteth in the temple of God,
showing himself that he is God.”
When the first shock of this blasphemy had
passed away, the inferior priests were bowing,
each in their turn, and in adoring attitude kissing 6(5)r 73
the toe
, as it is called, which is in fact, the
embroidered cross on the shoe of this lord of
lords. High mass then began; during the elevation
of the host, the Pope knelt before the
high altar and in silence prayed—then followed
an infinitude of gettings up and sittings down—
of sayings and dead pauses, which I am sure
those around me did not half comprehend; and
of which I could—nothing.
A lighted taper was then brought, (though
it was broad daylight,) and held for the Pope,
while he read something, I know not what,
from a great volume before him, and after several
other ceremonies as comprehensible and
edifying as those I have named, he rose and
retired, twirling his benediction all the way
out, as he twirled it all the way in. After
this, I had little running to do, till palm Sunday
came. You know I am far-famed as a
punctual man—and a full hour I had been seated
in the gaze of expectation, waiting the Pope’s
appearance in the chapel, when he came. He
was clothed this time in scarlet and gold, and a
most sumptuous figure he made. The cardinals
were dressed in their mourning robes, of a violet
color, richly trimmed with antique lace, with
mantles of ermine and scarlet trains—but these
were soon changed for garments of gold. The
same round of ceremonies toward the Pope was
performed as I related on the festa of the annunciation.
Two palm branches received the Pope’s
benediction, after having passed through a cloud 6(5)v 74
of incense. Smaller ones, artificial, composed
of plaited straw or dried reed-leaves, to which
crosses were appended, were presented to
each cardinal, archbishop, and to all the inferior
orders of the clergy, to the deacons, canons,
choristers, cardinals’ trainbearers, &c. as they
individually descended the steps of the throne
after performing the ceremonious routine I have
mentioned before. The procession then began to
move off, two and two, beginning with the
lowest clerical rank, and at last the Pope himself
in his chair of state, under a crimson canopy
and borne on the shoulders of four men. Great
pomp and splendor marked this parade. The
crowns and mitres of the bishops and patriarchs,
white and crimson, glittering with jewels, and
set with precious stones—their long, rich dresses
—the slow and uniform march of the procession,
and the gay crowds surrounding, presented
quite an imposing appearance. The procession
issued forth into the hall in the rear of
the chapel, and marching round it, entered
again and seated themselves as before. A multitude
of tedious services then followed—with
frequent kneelings—the tinkling of bells, dressings,
undressings, &c.; then the cardinals all
embraced each other, gave the kiss of peace,
and the scene closed.
The next service I attended was three days
after on Wednesday in the same chapel at half
past four, P.M. The house was filled to overflowing.
I had a conspicuous place, and could 6(6)r 75
distinctly see all that passed, and amused myself
through a long and tedious chant with
my own reflections on the varied scene before
me. My attention was then arrested by a row
of mourning candles, fifteen in number, all lighted,
though still broad day; the central one overtopped
the others, they retreating in size each
way. I learned the tall mourning candle was
the virgin Mary; the nearest each side, like
maids of honor, were the two Marys, and all the
rest apostles. As the services proceeded, the
candles, one by one, were extinguished, a typical
representation of the falling off of the apostles
in the hour of trial. The virgin was at last
left alone in the midst, and she at length was
set under the altar. As it grew dark, only light
enough was allowed to make the darkness visiible
—to give a sombre, chilling melancholy to
the whole aspect of things. Strains of music
then commenced of such unearthly pathos
as never before fell on my ear. I will not
attempt to describe it; for a time, I seemed
to forget where or what I was, so deeply was
every faculty of my soul absorbed in the plaintive,
heart-stirring swellings that rose, and then
melted away among the suppressed breathings
of awe-stricken listeners. The lady who sat
next me heard till nature fainted—and many on
my right and left listened till too deeply agitated
to suppress the keenness of their emotion.
Holy Thursday, the succeeding day, was the
interment of Christ; nearly the same ceremonies 6(6)v 76
were performed as I have already related,
with the addition of the deposit of the host by
the Pope in the sepulchre beneath the altar, at
the close of the procession.
Then came the washing of feet, in imitation
of our Saviour’s washing the disciple’s feet. This
was performed by the Pope himself, officiating in
a long white linen robe, and wearing a bishop’s
A silver bucket of water was presented to
him by an attending cardinal. The Pope knelt
before the first of the pilgrim-priests, immersed
one foot in water, then touched it with a fringed
towel—kissed the leg, and gave the cloth and a
sort of white flower or feather to the man—then
went on to the next. The whole ceremony
occupied by a few moments; the Pope then
returned to the throne, changed his dress for the
robes of white and silver, and proceeded to the
next service. The twelve priests seated themselves
at a table, loaded with various dishes and
flowers; and the Pope, after pronouncing a
blessing, handed to each from a side-table, bread,
plates, and cups of wine, which each rose to
receive from his highness’ hand; a few forms
having passed, he gave a parting benediction
and withdrew.’”

“What senseless ceremonies!” exclaimed
one of the young ladies.

“True they are;” said Mrs. Athearn, “and
they serve to beguile and satisfy a credulous. 7(1)r 77
people with the form of religion, without the

She then continued to read――

“‘The next day was Good Friday; went early
in the morning to the chapel, to witness the
adoration of the crossa long, tedious service
of mass, chantings, kneelings and prayings
to the cross, from which the mourning-cloth had
been removed.
Then came the service of the
three hours agony of Christ upon the cross,
which I viewed with feelings so indescribably
horror-struck, that I shall attempt no minute
description of the ceremonies. I still shudder,
as a confused remembrance of the representation
of mount Calvary, with its trees, rocks and
thickets, passes before me in review—the dying,
agonized contortions of the muscles in the face
of Him, who redeemed us, so strikingly and
horribly depicted, that the cold chills came over
me—the anils, with the spear and the crosses—
the two dying thieves—the centurions, the
horses and the glittering swords—but my head
swims at the recollection of the unhallowed sight
of scenes, too sacred ever to attempt portraying.
The whole scene, which is a complete drama, is
divided into seven acts, composed each of one
of the seven sayings The seven sayings are these—

  • 1. “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they
  • 2. “To-day thou shalt be with me in Paradise.”
  • 3. “Woman, behold thy Son. Son, behold thy mother.”
  • 4. “My God, my God, why hast thou abandoned me.”
  • 5. “I thirst.”
  • 6. “It is finished.”
  • 7. “Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit.”
of Christ on the cross; a 7 7(1)v 78
tirade of the priest, consisting of apostrophes,
ejaculations, and exhortations, calculated to
excite the natural feelings of the auditors, by
the help of surrounding scenes, even to nature’s
highest pitch; and when the scene was perfect
—when the whole multitude sank, exhausted
with feeling and drowned in tears—when the
whole church seemed to breathe in one loud
burst of agony, as the melting sounds of infinite
love faintly uttered, “It is finished,”—a band of
friars, clothed in black, came noiselessly issuing
from behind; they toiled up the steep, winding
and bushy ascent of the mountain, emerging
now from the thicket, and then from the shade
of a rock, to remove the body of Him, whose
last life-drop was spilt for us. The nails were
loosened, and the body removed and laid on
a bier amid the shrieks and agonizing groans of
the people, who hastened, one by one to pay it
the last tribute of a kiss, before it was borne
away. I staid till I could stay no longer, and
retired amid the prayers, and sighs, and tears
that found vent from almost every soul but mine,
with a grieved and melted heart, and a conscience
deeply reproaching me for witnessing a
mock-scene like this. 7(2)r 79 But I have spun this letter to quite an immoderate
length. I must close, but you shall
hear from me again in a few days.
Your affectionate brother, Henry S――.’”

Mrs. Athearn folded and filed this letter, and
as none of the young ladies manifested an inclination
to interrupt the pause she made by
any remark, she drew out another and began to


Chapter V.

My dear brother,— I am still busied in
attendance on Roman Catholic ceremonies.
Curiosity led me, a short time since, to witness
the holy rite of baptism, performed on a young
lady in the family of Mr. R. with whom I am on
terms of considerable intimacy. The ordinance
of baptism, as administered in a Romish
church, is so encumbered with ceremonies, that it
can be scarcely recognized as the simple seal of
the gospel-covenant. There are the forms observed
before coming to the font—those at the font—
and those which follow the administration of
the ordinance. A long series of catechetical instruction
precedes the rite itself, succeeded by
exorcism—which is using words of sacred
and religious import, and of prayers, to expel
the devil, and to weaken and crush his power.
Salt is put into the mouth—the sign
of the cross is made with the holy oil upon
the forehead, eyes, ears, breast and shoulders— 7(3)r 81
the nostrils and ears are touched with spittle—
the crown of the head is anointed with chrism,
after the performance of the baptismal ceremony
—a white garment is given, and a wax taper,
burning, is put into the hand. All these various
rites are typical of the several effects which the
sacred ordinance is said to confer; viz. “To
remit original sin, and actual guilt, however
enormous—to remit all the punishment due to
sin—to bestow invaluable privileges, such as
justification and adoption—to produce abundance
of virtues—to unite the soul to Christ—
and to open the portals of heaven.”
Such are the unwarranted, efficacious virtues
which the Romish church have ventured to
ascribe to this simple ordinance, which the Bible
recognizes only as the visible sign of an inward
union, and which of itself and in itself confers
no grace.
I suppose you are aware that the Roman
make seven sacraments, whereas we
have but two. Their order is this: baptism,
confirmation, eucharist, penance, extreme unction,
orders, and matrimony. I intend to say
somewhat on each of these points before I
close this letter, but will first take you with
me to see the young lady, of whom I have
been speaking, pass through the ceremony of
taking the veil!! Miss Celia R. is a beautiful
girl of 17—only daughter of the brother of Mr.
, who deceased about a year since, consigning7* 7(3)v 82
this, his dearest earthly treasure, to his
brother’s care. Mr. R. is a native Italian, and
staunch in his Romish belief—though his lady,
I suspect, submits with great repugnance to an
observance of this indispensable mummeries of her
husband’s faith. Miss R. came to Italy, overwhelmed
with the sense of melancholy and loneliness,
which her father’s death and her present
state of orphanage, (though independent in point
of fortune,) has occasioned; her sadness was
not at all lessened by the change of customs, of
scenes and companions, which her removal
from the land of her nativity and the associations
of early youth has produced. She has yielded
a listening ear to the counsels and persuasions
of the friends she has acquired since her arrival,
and with firm faith in the represented advantages
and pleasures of the life of a nun, she has
this morning taken upon herself all the solemn,
unwarranted and irrevocable vows of monastic
Poor girl! in the depth of her present sorrow,
the world seems dark and cheerless; she knows
not that youth, in its elasticity, bends only beneath
the weight of sorrow, to rise again when the
fury of the storm is past, and look out upon the
charm of social life, with all its wonted freshness
and delight. Her visions of futurity are
now clothed in the sombre shadows which her
spirit wears; she dreams not, that the bright
sun of youth and hope, though enveloped now,
will soon emerge cloudless, and free, and brilliant 7(4)r 83
as it was before. She thinks her sadness is religion;
her voluntary renunciation of all earth
offers, an offering acceptable in the eyes of
Him, who disdains every sacrifice but that of a
broken and contrite heart for sin; and she seeks
the comfort which is found only in repentance
and faith in the merits of her Saviour, in the
cold, dull, monotonous round of duties she herself
imposes, and the costly sacrifice of what her
heavenly Father never required her to forego.
But enough of this—though I am in quite a
moralizing mood, and heartily sick of cold externals,
warmed by no life-throb—of a religion
all body and no soul.
It was a most delightful morning—one of
Italy’s brightest days—and one who has never
roamed abroad amid all the beauties of Italic
scenery, and the soothing mildness and fragrance
of her atmosphere, can scarcely conceive
how delightful her bright days are; and I
thought, as I bent my steps at an early hour to
the chapel in the convent of St. Sylvestro, that
when the young lady came to look for the last
time upon the beauties and pleasures she was
about to renounce, for the cold, cheerless imprisonment
of this living-tomb, her heart must
misgive her, and her soul recoil from the rash,
fatal vow――and I hoped it would be so; for
I knew she had voluntarily, unadvised by her
uncle or aunt, and strongly opposed by the latter,
formed this inconsiderate resolution, and
chosen this living-death. But she came at last, 7(4)v 84
and two footmen, in splendid liveries, made way
for her entrance. She was in full dress, sparkling
in brilliants, her dark hair blazing in diamonds,
her cheeks unblanched—rather deepened by the
excitement of the moment, and I think I never saw
her more beautiful. She pressed forward amid
the gazing crowd with a firm, though gentle
step, while the fixed purpose of her soul beamed
full in her eye; the path-way and altar were
strewed with flowers—the public applauding—
strangers admiring—cardinals blessing—priests
flattering—friends weeping—nuns chanting—
and I, inwardly execrating a practice unauthorized
by the Bible, uncommanded by Jehovah,
yet encouraged and insisted upon by those, who
unworthily call themselves the messengers of
the will of the Highest.
The ceremonies commenced. You can
scarcely imagine the indignation that by this
time boiled within me, as I listened to the discourse
pronounced from the pulpit by an old,
fat Dominican monk, who poured forth such a
volume of rhapsody—with not a particle of sober
reason or religion in it; or anything, except
what was calculated to inflame an inexperienced
imagination; calling her “the affianced
spouse of Christ,”
a “saint on earth,” “one who
had renounced the vanities of the world for a
foretaste of the joys of heaven,”
&c.,—such as
you, my brother, with all your fire, would not
have staid to hear.
The sermon closed, and at the altar the beautiful 7(5)r 85
victim knelt—and on it laid her youth and
beauty, wealth—the pleasures and refinements
of life, the delights of friendship, the charms of
nature and of freedom—every thing—all that
nature has to give, she gave; she sacrificed them
all on the shrine before her, and pronounced
those vows, which severed her from them forever.
As the chant of her fatal vow died away in
melting recitative, every eye was moistened, as
far as my vision reached, save hers for whom
they wept.
Her diamonds were then removed; and her
long, dark tresses, in all their native polish and
beauty, fell clustering about her shoulders—one
lock of it was monopolized by the cardinal—
then the grate opened, the choral voices of the
black sisterhood chanted a strain of welcome, as
she retired from the benediction of the cardinal
and the embraces of her friends, within her future
tomb. She renounced her name and
adopted a new one—her beautiful garments
were removed, and the plain, coarse dress of the
Franciscan order was assumed; her ornaments
were laid away forever, and nature’s beautiful
covering, that richly polished hair, was severed
by the sisters’ fatal shears.
The white veil was thrown on, (which is a
very different thing from what I had supposed,
being simply “a piece of white linen, fixed on
the top or back part of the head, and falling
down behind or on each side, as on a veiled 7(5)v 86
) Attired in the sober dress of a noviciate
nun, the beautiful Celia R. appeared to view
again, behind the open grate—not otherwise,
for she and the world, (save seen through the
bars of her life-prison,) were now parted forever.
We all agreed the simple dress of the
new nun had not at all abated from her beauty,
for her bright eyes, and the lovely expression of
her fair countenance had not departed with her
brilliant attire. I thought her, indeed, even
prettier than before.
She appeared calm and firm until the last,
when nature would have its gush, and while
receiving the praises, congratulations and sympathy
of friends and acquaintance, in spite of
her, her tears fell fast and free. We left her—
the heroine of an hour.—But oh! how often in
the long, dark flight of the tedious hours to
which she has doomed herself, will she sigh over
that fatal moment with bitter repentance, but
it will come too late!’”

Here Alice interrupted her teacher, by saying,

“Too late, Mrs. Athearn! Could she not
leave the convent if she chose? If she became

Mrs. A. “Were it not for the world’s dread
laugh, perhaps so; but where would she go?
not to her family and friends—they would disdain
to receive her, so dishonored and disgraced
would they feel themselves. Her friends and 7(6)r 87
acquaintance would scarcely associate with her.
No man would marry her, and the finger of
scorn would follow her to her grave.”

“How silly,” said Miss F. Andrews, a pretty
black-eyed girl, “for any young lady to seclude
herself for life in such a way. I am sure I can
see no reason or object in it, without one is
quite sick and weary of the world; if so, there
are other ways to get out of it than that, though
perhaps it would not be quite as criminal to cut
off all intercourse with it by a convent grate, as
to cut it off with a hatchet!”

Miss Stanwood. “And I should think it must
be for some other reason that the pleasure
of living out of sight and hearing
, that induces
young ladies to choose a nun’s life, if they are
like me; for really, Mrs. Athearn, much as I
love to be with you and the young ladies, and
have perfect liberty in your beautiful garden and
the woods, lanes and meadows beyond, I should
not like to be confined here always—much less
to be shut up in a convent, where I could scarce
see over the walls.”

Mrs. A. “You remind me of little Caroline
about seven years old, who was one of my
day scholars a short time ago, but is since dead.
She came to me one morning, and inquired
with great earnestness,”

“‘How long, Mrs. Athearn, do you think you
shall keep school?’
‘I don’t know, indeed, my dear’, I replied, ‘as
long as I live probably.’
7(6)v 88 ‘As long as you live, Mrs. Athearn?’ she
repeated after me, in considerable dismay.—
‘How sorry I am!!’
I was in my turn surprised, and inquired
why she was sorry?
‘Because,’ said the little girl, ‘Pa’ says I
shall come to school to you as long as you keep.’
‘Well, what then?’ said I. ‘Why,’ she added, in rather a confidential
tone, ‘I may want to be married when I am
twenty or more, you know, Mrs. Athearn?’”

The girls laughed heartily at little Caroline
simplicity. Alice became more and more
puzzled to know for what reason young ladies
became nuns; and she begged Mrs. Athearn
would tell her what their object really was in
shutting themselves up for life—whether they
were generally forced by their friends to do so?

Mrs. A. “It is very seldom, my dear, that
girls are forced to take the veil, though I am
sorry to say, there have been instances, where
young people have not only been wheedled to
do it, and left to repent at their leisure, but
even compelled to take upon them the vows of
monastic life.”

“Many reasons operate in other countries,
which do not in our favored land, to induce parents
and friends to place their youthful charge
for life, within the walls of a monastery, independent
of those inducements which influence
the choice of such a life in the young people
themselves. Believing as they are taught to do 8(1)r 89
from infancy, that this state of seclusion and
voluntary banishment evidences an exalted state
of devotional feeling, and a depth of piety peculiarly
pleasing in the sight of Infinite Holiness,
and that it possesses eminent advantages for arriving
at still more enviable heights of sanctity—
perhaps saint-ship itself—who wonders that
many a sentimental, superstitious, uneasy female
turns her eyes to the cloister, and seeing no other
path before her, that would lead to distinction,
rather than die unnoticed and live unknown, she
longs to be a nun!!”

“Catharine says, above all things, she would
admire such a life; to be such a nun as you have
described. She has always longed to be a nun,
Mrs. Athearn,”
said Emily Brown, repeating
archly the whisper just breathed by her neighbor.

“And what did you tell for,” replied the
young lady, casting a half-smiling, half-reproving
glance at the tattler, and quite ashamed, that
Mrs. Athearn should think her guilty of such a

Mrs. Athearn looked at her with a smile and
said, “So why would you like to be a nun, Catharine?
Why? Because you pant after a holiness
of heart and life, which, surrounded by the
temptations and allurements of the world, you
think you cannot attain? From this reason,
young ladies generally wish to have their choice
of monastic life supposed to arise.”
The girls all
smiled at the question; for not one of their number8 8(1)v 90
thought or cared less for holiness and deadness
to the world
, than the giddy young Catharine

“That would not be my motive exactly,” replied
the young lady. “Well,” said Mrs. Athearn
in reply, gravely, “there is in Rome a convent
called the Sepolto Vivo, where nuns are
immured. What passes within its walls can
never be known. None but the victims enter,
and they never may quit it. Except once a year,
they may see no human being; then an interview
may be allowed in the presence of the Lady
Abbess, but no secrets are told. No tidings of
the world, as it goes, are communicated to them;
its changes, its pleasures and doings are all a
blank to them. They know not even when their
dearest friends are removed by death. Would
you choose this convent?”
she asked, smiling.
“There is mystery and gloom enough about it
to satisfy even such a romantic disposition as

“Oh, no,” replied Miss Allen, blushing; “that
would be a little too strict.”

Mrs. A. “Well then, you might prefer some
other, like that perhaps of Santa Theresa.
We know what they are about there. They fast
daily, and watch nightly—are completely occupied
in penance, mortification, and austerity in
every form; they wear coarse woollen frocks to
fret the skin—expose their feet to the cold dampness
of a rough brick floor—bare planks are
their beds—unfurnished cells their abode, and 8(2)r 91
many wear near the heart sharp crosses, which
by the frequent incisions they make, irritate and
deeply wound, inflicting pain and agony at times
almost insupportable. These and other similar
austerities are practised by many recluses to
inure themselves to suffering, to mortify the flesh
and prepare themselves by their extraordinary
sufferings and privations for a future saintship.”

“Oh, such a nun’s life I should not like at
exclaimed the young lady.

Mrs. A. “No, I dare say. Your vanity would
like the display and parade which constitutes
the introductory scene to the long, dark, unvaried
years of monastic life. You would like the
jewels, the interested gaze of strangers, the applause
and flattery of the public voice, the blessing
and enthusiastic approbation of the old
father confessor, the host of priests and of the
Pope himself, the tears of friends, the sympathy
of crowds, the admiring gaze of thousands, the
delightful complacency of the moment in viewing
yourself the magnet of all this splendor;
you would enjoy the pageantry and excitement
of one short hour, but would you like,
my dear Catharine, the after-piece? the long and
frequent prayers? the telling of thousands of
beads? the heartless vows and their reluctant
fulfilment which compose the routine of this
secluded life you so much admire at a distance?
Would you not despise the threshold which
your feet might never press again? would you not
long for a nearer, better view of the bright world 8(2)v 92
you had foregone, renounced, spurned, than you
could have from the lofty, remote battlements of
your earthly prison-house, or even the extremity
of its gardens, hanging on the summit of the
convent-hill, amid the thick, dark groves of cypress
around you? But all would be beyond your
reach, self-removed from your grasp; whatever
your repentance, your disinclination, it must be
concealed, smothered. Even in your private
chapel in the convent, you would sit at the top
of the lofty church, completely screened from
view by a gilded grating, impervious to the
external gaze, though you might perchance peep
out yourself.”

“Oh, how many thoughtless young creatures, in
a fit of imaginary devotional feeling, (reckless of
future misgivings or futurity in any sense,) sacrifice
their all on this unnatural altar; and they
are cheered by no smile or token of approbation
from their Saviour in return, for he never enjoined
such self-inflictions on his followers—such
sacrifices are not acceptable from His wroshippers.
Pagans, in their fanaticism, inflicted the
punishment of this living-death on their guilty
vestal virgins, but it was reserved for the fanatics
of Popery to sacrifice the innocent, the youthful,
and beautiful on the altar of monachism. And
they call it religion, virtue!!
It is a fact, that according to the census of
Spain only 45 years ago, (you know Spain is a
Roman Catholic country,) there were 42,707
Roman Catholic Dignitaries, Vicars, &c. 3,067 8(3)r 93
convents, 57,515 monks, and 24,559 nuns;
whole population, 10,269,150. Out of these,
more than 82,000 were shut out from all intercourse
with the world—a prey to their own loneliness,
desolation, and unnecessary sacrifices.”

Miss Emmons. “I am surprised at such a disproportionate
number of monks; I did not know
there were more monks than nuns, if as many.”

Mrs. A. “Yes; it is said the former out-number
the latter by nearly one half. I told you
only the number of useless beings in one country;
we should be still more surprised, could we ascertain
truly the exact number throughout the
world, who have sacrificed themselves in this

“Do you suppose, Mrs. Athearn, that in
reality, the inhabitants of these life-prisons, as
you term them, attain a greater depth of piety,
and reach a loftier height in devotional feeling,
than those who serve God faithfully amid the
cares of life—in the midst of the world, where
God himself put them?”
asked one of the young

Mrs. A. “No, my dear, I do not. Very few
are found within the walls of a convent who
worship God in the Spirit, having no confidence
in the flesh
, and trusting not to their own merits—
hanging not their hopes on their various good
—the self-righteousness which you know
is but ‘filthy rags,’ in the sight of Jehovah.
Here and there a truly religious monk or nun 8* 8(3)v 94
may be found, but small is the number, compared
with the whole.”

“If we would grow in grace, and do the will of
our heavenly Father, we shall not roll in a napkin
the talent committed to us, and lay it away
unemployed; we shall not seclude ourselves in
our closets from opportunities of saving souls,
praying without correspondent action following;
we shall not put our light under a bushel, but in
a position capable of being seen—we shall go out
among souls
, showing them the way to heaven
by our life, conversation, and holy zeal, like our
blessed Master, who ‘went about doing good.’”

“But let us return to our letter now,” said
Mrs. Athearn, and she took it from the worktable
before her, where in the course of the preceding
remarks it had been placed, to give way
to a piece of rug-work, which needed attention.
She glanced hastily over the page on which she
was reading when Alice proposed her question,
and finding the clause she read last, she continued

“‘I find I have little room or time left to
say all I had intended; but I must allude to the
Sacraments which this Church has instituted.
I believe I named in the commencement of this
letter, that five had been added by the Church
of Rome to the two, already instituted by our
Saviour; viz. confirmation, penance, extreme
unction, orders, and matrimony.
Confirmation, like baptism and indeed all
the sacraments, in their belief, confers grace. By 8(4)r 95
baptism, they say, we are born again; by confirmation
we grow; by the eucharist we are nurtured,
&c. The ceremonies attendant on the
administration of this ordinance are almost as
numerous and as varied as in that of baptism.
Children who have attained the use of reason—
who are at least seven years of age, may be confirmed.
Sponsors are required as in baptism,
and the same spiritual affinity is contracted.
I lately saw this ordinance administered. I
have forgotten some of the rites, but I remember
the forehead was anointed by the Bishop with
chrism, in the sign of the cross, then—’”

Alice. “Mrs. Athearn, I dislike to interrupt
you again, but I really do not know what chrism
is; you have used the word several times.”

“Chrism is a mixture of oil and balsam,” said
Mrs. Athearn. “You need not feel any delicacy
at all, young ladies, about questioning me in
respect to anything you do not understand; you
know I am always happy to answer you.”

She thus went on; “‘The Bishop then gently
slapped the young man’s cheek “to remind him,
that as a courageous champion, he should be
prepared to brave with unconquered resolution
all adversities for the name of Christ.”
This was
followed by the kiss of peace, to signify that he
had been blessed with the fullness of divine
grace, and with that “peace which passeth all
&c. As the sacrament of baptism
washes away all, especially original sin――the
sacrament of penance begins where that of baptism 8(4)v 96
leaves off, and washes away all sins of
thought and deed, committed after the former.
It seems this sacrament consists of three acts
or parts――contrition, confession, and satisfaction.Contrition
is “the sorrow and detestation
which the mind feels for past sin, with a prupose
of sinning no more.”
This, you know, is our
definition of true repentance. But unless this
act is accompanied in the penitent by confession,
in the ear of the priest, or to use their term,
auricular confession, and by satisfaction, which
is also composed of three parts, prayer, fasting,
and alms-deeds, in the view of the Romish
church, it is of no effect; no absolution can be
obtained, and the Roman Catholic must go on
his way, like Christian in the Pilgrim’s Progress,
bowed down beneath the burden of his ponderous
The method of confession is the following;
after the penitent comes into the church, and
has gone through the various ceremonies of
sprinkling himself with holy water, making the
sign of the cross, and bowing before the altar,
repeating several Pater Nosters and Ave Marias,
he withdraws to the confessional, (the seat or
box in which the confessor sits to hear the declarations
of his penitents, usually placed in the
darkest part of the chapel, having an iron grate
at each side, with a door in front,) and kneels at
the feet of the father confessor, to pour into his
ear his humble confessions. On festivals and 8(5)r 97
devotional days, the crowd is frequently so great,
that three penitents at once may be seen in a
kneeling posture around the confessional. As
soon as one has finished his confession, which is
always in a whisper, another begins, making the
sign of the cross and saying, “Pray, Father,
give me your blessing; I have sinned.”
confiteor, or form of confession used, is this;
“I confess to Almighty God, to blessed
Mary, ever a virgin, to blessed Michael the
archangel, to blessed John the Baptist, to the
holy Apostles, Peter and Paul, and to all the
saints, that I have sinned exceedingly in thought,
word, and deed, through my fault, my most
grievous fault;”
he then accuses himself of his
sins, according to the order of God’s commandments
or such other order as he finds most helpful
to his memory,――confessing the sins of
thought, word, and deed since his last confession,
as far as he can remember, adding after each
sin the number of times he has been guilty of it,
and such circumstances as may very considerably
aggravate the guilt; but carefully abstaining
from such as are impertinent or unnecessary, and
from excuses and long narrations.
He then concludes with this, or a similar
form; “For this and all my other sins, which I
cannot at this present time call to remembrance,
I am heartily sorry, purpose amendment for the
future, most humbly ask pardon of God, and absolution
of you, my ghostly father;”
I beseech the blessed Mary, ever a virgin, the 8(5)v 98
blessed Michael the archangel, the blessed John
, the holy Apostles, Peter and Paul, and
all the saints, to pray to the Lord our God for
This the confessor follows with such intruction
and advice as he deems suitable to give,
enjoins upon him such penance as he prescribes
to be carefully performed in due time and in a
penitential spirit; he then absolves the penitent,
who retires unburdened of sin and ready to open
a new account.
Of the works of penance there is an almost
inconceivable variety, from the repetition of Ave
and Pater Nosters to the endurance of
the most excruciating tortures and painful privations.Some
live nearly half the year on bread and
water; others remain in certain positions almost
an incredible length of time; some are in the
constant use of flagellation; lacerating bandages
and iron chains, bound constantly about the body,
immersions in freezing water, and every method
of gradually and painfully destroying life.
“St. Rose bore night and day three folds of
an iron chain round the waist, a belt set with
needles and an iron crown armed inside with
points; she made to herself a bed of the unpolished
trunk of trees, and filled up the interstices
with broken pottery.”
So I am told.
St. Theresa used hair shirts, chains, nettles,
scourges, and even rolled herself among thorns.’”

8(6)r 99

“These descriptions really transport one to
the heathen countries of our own day, where not
a beam of the true religion has yet shone,”
Miss Emmons. “I cannot express my amazement,
that any people who have ever heard of
the God we worship, much more that bear a
Christian name, should adopt such methods of
satisfaction for sin; such self-inflictions to appease
a merciful and holy God.”

Mrs. A. “It is enough to make an angel weep
truly, at the folly and obstinacy of man.”

“I have been told that even at the present day
every Italian is obliged to confess, and receive
communion, once a year at least, or see his name
posted up in the church, and if the neglect is
persisted in, excommunication, loss of property,
family sufferings, and the terrors of the Inquisition
await him—stare him in the face.
The letter continues, ‘Oh when, my brother,
shall the reign of the Prince of peace in this
beautiful country, and the total downfall and oblivion
of this tyrannical man of sin, arrive.
My soul weeps over these duped immortals,
hastening to eternity. You see how completely
their works of penance to atone for sin neutralize
the necessity of faith in Christ’s merits.
They are justified by works, instead of faith.
They talk of sending on to heaven “a stock of
good works, on which they may live for eternity;”
and regret life is so short for this labor of
8(6)v100They talk of deducting the merits of their
pains, sufferings, and crosses, from the punishment
due their sins, &c. &c. which one can
hardly believe without being an eye-witness of
their practises, confirming their belief, and
hearing their prayers, and the avowal of their
sentiments on this point from their own mouths.
In my next letter, I intend to tell you about
the immense stock of “merits,” which have been,
and are still accumulating――an inexhaustible
fund from which they presume on their indulgences,
but have not time now; indeed I must
postpone what I had intended to say on other
points, for urgent duties demand my attention.But
believe me, my dear brother, as ever,
your affectionate,
Henry ――’”

Mrs. Athearn folded the letter, and one of the
little girls said, “Doctor Sturtevant forgot to
mention anything about the other sacraments;
will you please to tell us what extreme unction

Mrs. A. “It is a sacrament, administered
only to the sick; to those apparently on the
verge of eternity.”

“The oil of olives is consecrated and applied
by the bishop to the organs of sense, with this
form, ‘By this holy unction, and through his
great mercy, may God indulge thee whatever sins 9(1)r 101
thou hast committed by sight, or smell, or
applying it successively to the eyes, the
ears, the nostrils, &c. This sacrament the Roman
supposes, ‘remits sins,’ and so
great is his faith in its efficacy, that, comforted
and peaceful after its administration, he sinks
down in the arms of death, fearless and relieved,
prepared in its strength to open his eyes on the
new scenes before him, and to be ushered into the
presence of his Judge.
Orders, of course, refers to the several dignities
of the priesthood. Its number is seven, viz.
porter, reader, exorcist, acolyte, sub-deacon,
deacon and priest; the last three are designated
by the title of ‘holy,’ and the other four by that
of the ‘minor orders.’ The offices of most of
these, I suppose the greater part of you will naturally

Mary Dunbar. “If you should ask me, Mrs.
, I am sure I could not tell.”

Mrs. A. “Then I will briefly explain them.
The porter has the charge of the keys and the
door of the church, and assists as the sacrifice;
he is the treasurer of the church also, and the
guardian of the sacristy, (or room where the consecrated
vessels are kept.)”

“The office of the reader is ‘to read to the
people in a clear and distinct voice the sacred
(in Latin, you know,) and ‘to instruct
the faithful in the rudiments of the faith.’
The exorcist, by the imposing of hands, is to 9 9(1)v 102
expel devils from those possessed, be they baptised
or catechumens.
The acolyte serves those who are in holy
orders, in the ministry of the altar, and attends
to the lights, used at the celebration of the mass,
The ‘holy orders’ are under obligations of
perpetual celibacy.
The sub-deacon’s duties are ‘to prepare the
altar-linen, the sacred vessels, the bread and wine,
necessary for the holy sacrifice—to minister water
to the priest or bishop at the washing of the hands
at mass—to read the epistle—to assist at mass in
the capacity of witness, and see that the priest
be not disturbed by any one during its celebration.’
To the deacon ‘it belongs constantly to accompany
the bishop, to attend him when preaching,
to assist him and the priest also during the
celebration of the holy mysteries, and at the administration
of the sacraments, and to read the
gospel at the sacrifice of the mass.’
The office of the priest is ‘to offer sacrifice
to God, and to administer the sacraments of the

“Mrs. Athearn,” said one little girl, “you have
very often spoken of cardinals, what are they?”

Mrs. A. “The cardinals are the deacons,
priests and bishops of Rome and its suburbs.
Their number is seventy, and they are created
at the pleasure of the Pontiff. They constitute
the consistory, or council of the apostolic See; 9(2)r 103
preside over the Pope’s tribunals, and enjoy great
privileges and honors.”

“I have but one letter more,” said Mrs. Athearn;
“we will read that, and then adjourn.
The topics of to-morrow evening will more immediately
concern the Reformation, but it seemed
necessary to enter into something of a detail
of the errors and practises of the Christian church
as it existed in the 16th century, to give you any
idea of the cause and necessity of the Reformation.”

Mrs. Athearn then began to read the only
remaining letter from Doct. Sturtevant, which
had any reference to the subject; upon which all
the young ladies now began to manifest considerable


Chapter VI.

My dear brother,— This is my last letter
from Rome; my health has wonderfully improved,
and I intend soon to set my face homeward.
Before this reaches you, I shall probably be
on my way. I shall have bid adieu to all the
beauty and splendor of this classic city, once
mistress of the world, and be quite beyond the
charms of her scenery, the balmy breath of her
delightful hills, and all her romantic associations;
and indeed the latter have long since floated
from my memory, so absorbed have I become in
the interests of her future spiritual welfare—but
I shall carry with me many new thoughts and
new feelings, which, by the blessing of God, will
prompt to many new efforts and to many new
Henceforth, my brother, I will be the Lord’s! 9(3)r 105
I will live for Him, act for Him, think for Him,
and direct every effort of my soul to co-operate
in bringing back this darkened, deluded
world of immortals, to the standard of the
holy and peaceful allegiance of Jesus; to hasten
that latter-day glory, which my soul never longed
with such intensity to see, as since I have contrasted
its brightness and purity with the depressing
gloom and abominations of the superstitious
ages behind us, yet lingering in their
retreat. My heart has almost melted within me,
as I have watched the thick, dark clouds, which
have settled over this people, and the horrible
blackness of darkness which has shrouded, and
still envelopes so many millions of perishing immortals,
as they make their final plunge into the
fathomless gulf of eternity, blindly unprepared,
deceived by blind guides, and eternally lost.
Oh! the wo reserved in the dregs of the cup of
antichrist, the indescribable torments that await
him at the decisions of the last great day!
Every delusion I find in the “cup of abominations,”
prepared for the nations by the “mother
of harlots,”
and greedily drank by easily-deceived
souls, thirsting for a blessed immortality,
awakens new and deeper pangs of indignation
and grief, till my heart, at times, is ready to
burst in the depths of its distress for souls.
I thought when I last wrote to you, that I
had some faint glimpse of the deceits and delusions
practised on the followers of Popery. I
could see depths, frightful and immense, of 9* 9(3)v 106
treasures of gold and silver, which Papal imposition
had extorted from the ignorant and superstitious,
to pamper and uphold the dominion of
the prince of darkness; but I had not fathomed,
with my imperfect vision, the greatest reservoir
of all, with its endless channels and its
untold bounds—I mean that of indulgences.
I was not, to be sure, ignorant of the existence
of such a fraud to obtain the mammon of unrighteousness,
for I had found scarcely a church
in Rome, where “plenary indulgence” did not
blaze in tempting letters—but of the extent to
which this fraud is carried, and the immense
source of revenue it has become, I was uninformed.
I had been rather startled, I confess, at
the full pardon of sin which a few prayers before
certain shrines, and a few pence, slipped into the
hand of a priest, would procure; but my hair
stood almost upright, when I learned, that by
the performance of a few trifling, heartless ceremonies,
and the payment of certain sums of
money, 30 or 30,000 and even 500,000 years of
indulgence might be purchased. I find indulgences
are of different degrees—full, more
than full,
fullest. A full indulgence will
“clear you of all that can be laid to your charge,
and bring you to a baptismal innocency till
the time and date of the indulgence; but in
case you live longer, though but a fortnight,
your total indulgence is spent, and therefore to
help you out here, you may have a fuller indulgence, 9(4)r 107
which will carry you to the end of your
You may buy as many masses as will free
your souls from purgatory for 29,000 years, at
the church of St. John’s Lateran, on the festa of
that saint.
Those that have interest with the Pope, may
obtain an absolution in full, from his Holiness, for
all the sins they ever have committed, or may
choose to commit.
Certain prices, it seems, are affixed to certain
sins, and entire absolution may be obtained
for any sin you can name, by paying the stipulated
For sins which in the holy Scriptures we
find called down the terrific judgments of heaven,
a man may obtain absolution from the Pope for
two shillings, two and sixpence, and perhaps
less. It is almost incredible what a source of
revenue the sale of bulls of indulgences has
been to the Romish church—what uncounted
treasures have been amassed in the Pope’s coffers
by this means.’”

“In confirmation of this,” said Mrs. Athearn,
pausing in this place, “I recollect a fact stated
by Dr. Burnet; ‘that even after the proclaiming
a sale of indulgences was forbidden by the Pope’s
bull, yet in the commencement of the 18th century,
the Pope had a commissary in almost every
place, to manage this business.’”

“‘In 17091709, when the Galleon was taken by9(4)v108
the Privateer of Bristol, 500 bales of these bulls
were found, sixteen reams being in every bale;
so that the whole was reckoned to amount to
three millions eight hundred and forty thousand.’”

Miss Allen. “They must have been expecting
a good market, to lay in such a store!”

Mrs. Athearn resumed the letter.—

“‘No measures are untried, that crafty policy
suggests, to extort masses for the dead—to solicit
contributions for the relief of suffering souls
in purgatory. Strange tales of frightful visions
and apparitions are circulated, “of souls standing
in burning brimstone, some up to the knees,
and some to the chin――of others swimming in
cauldrons of melted lead, and devils pouring
metal down their throats,”
with many such stories,
greedily swallowed by superstition and ignorance.
Solicitors, or agents, bearing lanterns
with a painted glass, representing naked persons
enveloped in flames, parade the streets and
enter houses with tales that alarm, and appeals
that excite their compassion for these “holy
So great is the dread of the horrors of purgatory,
that besides the satisfactions they make
in their life time, many deluded souls leave
large legacies to the church to procure masses
daily, weekly, monthly and yearly, as far as their
money will go. Thus also are multitudes of the
living induced, through compassion for the supposed 9(5)r 109
sufferings of their deceased relatives, to
spend large and frequent sums; sometimes even
to forego many comforts and necessaries, to redeem
by masses the souls of those they love
from the horrors of the middle state. Many
would rather starve their surviving families, than
neglect the souls of the departed. This doctrine
is a mine, as profitable to the church, as
the Indies to Spain.’”

“Where and what is purgatory?” asked one
of the little misses.

Mrs. A. “It is said by Roman Catholics to
be situated in the centre of the earth, and is
one of the four divisions of the infernal regions.
The first is occupied by the damned; the
second is purgatory; the third is filled with the
spirits of unbaptized infants, which endure the
eternal punishment of loss, though not of sense;
the fourth is limbo, the abode of those who
died before the birth of Christ, but it is now
empty, as Christ, when he descended into hell,
delivered and took them away with him. Purgatory
will be emptied in due time, when all the
souls therein are sufficiently purified and prepared
to ascend higher.”

A look of surprise seemed to rest on the
countenances of many of Mrs. A.’s young auditors,
as she stated such opinions to be the actual
avowed belief of any sect, calling themselves
Christians, but no remark was made.

“What purgatory is,” continued Mrs. Athearn, 9(5)v 110
“they define thus; it is a place in which, after
death, the souls of those persons are purified,
who were not fully cleansed on earth.
punishment endured is said to be ‘corporeal
(but how that can cleanse an incorporeal
spirit, is beyond my wit to tell.) Augustine’s
theory is, that the purgatorial fire is ‘the fire
which consumes the world at the day of judgment;’
consequently, that fire must have been
kindled long since, else why the necessity of
prayers for the liberation of friends from a present
, and where too would be the resting-place
of souls between earth and the ‘great
of the last day.”

Miss Emmons. “I cannot conceive where
they borrowed the notion of such a state of
being; surely not from the Bible.”

Mrs. A. “Oh yes, they pretend to do so, and
quote in proof INTERNAL ERROR. Please report to wwp@neu.edu that regMe is unmatched.Matt. xii. 32—where Christ says,
speaking of the sin against the Holy Ghost—‘It
shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world,
neither in the world to come,’
—that is, neither
here or in heaven, therefore there must be a
place between the two.”

INTERNAL ERROR. Please report to wwp@neu.edu that regMe is unmatched.“1 Cor. iii. 15, also. ‘If any man’s work
shall be burned, he shall suffer loss; but he,
himself, shall be saved, yet so as by fire,’
by the fire of purgatory.
Every unprejudiced, enlightened mind, would
see, however, at a glance, that to be saved ‘as
by fire,’
was a proverbial expression, indicative 9(6)r 111
of the narrowness and difficulty of his escape.
Many think the craters of volcanoes are entrances
into hell, and it is said in the eruptions of
mount Hecla, many souls have appeared issuing
forth, &c.”

“But, Mrs. Athearn,” asked Julia Marvin,
“where do priests obtain the power to absolve
sins, grant indulgences, relieve the sufferings of
souls in purgatory, and release them from its

Mrs. A. “With the ‘keys,’ which the Pope
claims in right of St. Peter’s successor, he can
unlock, he affirms, an immense fund of merits,
and draw forth from the church’s treasury forever,
without fear of exhaustion. This treasury
is ingeniously compared by Dr. Brevint to ‘a
sea, supplied by four great rivers. The first, is
the satisfactions of all the saints from Adam and
Abel to Christ—for the Roman doctors teach
us, they suffered more than need was, and no
use was made of their sufferings, because during
the four thousand years to Christ’s ascension,
heaven, they think, was not open; nor had
Christ empowered any man to take aught of this
treasury, in order to any pardons.’”

“‘The second, is the passion of Jesus Christ,
whose blood, they say, had it been but one drop,
was enough to save all mankind; therefore all
the superabundance either before or at his passion
is reserved in this vast treasury. The third,
is all the meritorious passions and sufferings of
the virgin Mary, which, as they think, she 9(6)v 112
needed nor for herself. The fourth, is the sufferings,
the martyrdoms and the penance of all
the saints since the gospel; Peter, Paul, St.
, and St. Francis, and all holy monks
and Eremites. Now all this vast and even immense
treasure of merit is wholly at the command
of the Pope, and is the spring of indulgences.’”

Mrs. Athearn then read—

“‘You cannot conceive, my dear brother, of
the depravation of morals here. If nothing
enters heaven “that defileth,” it must be a comfortable
thought to the priests as well as the people,
that a place is mercifully provided to cleanse
them from the impurities of the debauchery they
indulge on earth. The celibacy of the priests
is but a cloak for the most shameless wickedness,
so frequent and impudent as scarce to seek
concealment—the day of judgment will reveal
such enormities as will make every ear to tingle.’”

Alice. “Has the Pope no wife, Mrs. Athearn?”

Mrs. A. “Oh no; and no priest is allowed to

“Pope Peter had a wife though,” said one of
the young ladies, smiling, “for the Bible says
somewhere, ‘and when Jesus was come into
Peter’s house, he saw his wife’s mother laid, and
sick of a fever.’”

Catharine Allen. “And I am sure Paul
seemed to think it the fault of none but himself,
that he had no wife—for he says, ‘have 10(1)r 113
we not power to lead about a sister, a wife, as
well as other apostles, and as the brethren of
the Lord and Cephas?’”

Mrs. A. “And he says in Hebrews, that
‘marriage is honorable in all,’ (not excepting
priests,) so this is one of the doctrines which may
truly be called a ‘commandment of men.’”

“In Paul’s epistle to Titus, also, a bishop is
allowed to be the ‘husband of one wife.’”

“The first interposition of the Pope’s authority
in this matter was about four hundred years after
Christ; and he did not absolutely forbid the
marriage of the clergy, but rather dissuaded
from it. One of the succeeding Popes, however,
forbade it in absolute terms; declared the
marriage of any, exercising the functions of the
sacred office, unlawful, and either the priest
must be deposed or the marriage dissolved.”

Miss Emmons. “But what is the reason for
such a prohibition?”

Mrs. A. “Not greater strictness and holiness,
as the lives and practices of the spiritual court
at Rome prove, though this is a reason pretended;
but rather a dictate of the worldly
policy, which actuates the government of the
church. Had all the priests houses, wives and
children, they would have other interests than
now—must be subject to another will, and yield
allegiance to another power than the Pope of
Rome. The church’s revenue would find numerous
other dearer channels, and often would 10 10(1)v 114
the love of lands and family yield to any prejudice
in the church.”

“Were the celibacy of the priesthood abolished,
one vast pillar that supports the throne of the
‘man of sin’ would be removed—the Pope
would stand unlinked, alone—shorn of his power
—without authority, like any other man.”

Here Mrs. Athearn resumed the letter.

“‘I wonder not, my brother, at the indignation
which boiled in the breast of the bold and fearless
Luther, at the shameful and infamous traffic
of indulgences. “Behold how great a matter a
little fire kindleth!”
Little did he imagine the
flame that burned within his own breast was the
torch to kindle Christendom—a light to turn the
eyes of ages towards the rising of that better
day, so dear to the hearts of all Christ’s followers.
How great should be our gratitude, that
we were not nurtured in the long reign of darkness,
which shrouded this and other countries
before the deep, loud blast of Luther’s trumpet
sounded the alarm among sleeping Christians.
He began a noble work; may all our energies
be enlisted in its advancement, till He, whose
right it is, shall rule and reign from sea to sea—
from the river to the ends of the earth. Great
is the work, even of a private Christian, I believe,
if he stands in his lot, doing with his
might what his hands find to do.
May you and I, my dear brother, be watchful
and diligent in our Master’s work, that when 10(2)r 115
he cometh, he may say, “Well done, good and
faithful servants, enter thou into the joy of thy
Yours in the bonds of the strongest affec
Henry S――.’”

“This letter finishes the correspondence,”
said Mrs. Athearn, as she slipped it into the
envelope, which contained the packet—“and
here we had better close this evening’s amusement.
We have made our two hours long,”
added, as she found the hand of her watch on
the point of telling nine.

Some of the young ladies seemed rather surprised
at the unheeded lapse of time, so deeply
had their feelings become interested in the subject
of conversation. All expressed, by looks at
least, a reluctance to adjourn, till Mrs. Athearn
promised a renewal of the subject on the succeeding

Preparations were made for a general dispersion
to their respective rooms, after Mrs. A. had
surrounded the family altar with her youthful
flock, and with humility and deep fervency had
supplicated Heaven’s blessings, and committed
them with all their interests to Him, who heareth

All, at length, retired, save three of the elder
ladies, who lingered around the fading embers
in the hall, to indulge in a little social chat after
the day’s labors. Many remarks on the subject
of the evening were freely made, and Miss 10(2)v 116
Maria Ellis
seemed rather inclined to think
“some of Mrs. Athearn’s statements in regard to
the Roman Catholics, were over-charged, and
feared they were made with the uncharitable
spirit of a prejudiced mind.”

To this, Mary Emmons replied, that “she had
thought Mrs. Athearn remarkably tame in her
charges, and cautious of misrepresentation. I
am sure”
she added, “I have heard uncle Sam,
who has lived many years in Popish countries,
and is well acquainted with their belief and
practises, tell things of which, if you think Mrs.
has over-stated, you would not believe
a word; and yet I know they are so, for some
of them he himself saw and heard, and of others
he had evidence from undoubted authority.”

“Well,” said the other young lady, “even if
what she has said about Roman Catholics is true,
I do not see what it all has to do with the subject
upon which we started.”

“I thought myself,” said Miss Emmons in
reply, “that she dwelt, perhaps longer than
was necessary, upon the peculiarities of that
church, and entered rather too minutely into
some particulars; though I confess I have gained
considerable information, and therefore do not
regret it—but”
she added after a short pause,
“I dare say Mrs. Athearn knows what she is
about—she has had some particular object in
view, as we shall see.”

“Yes, that she had,” said the lady who had
spoken first, gaily; “who ever knew Mrs. 10(3)r 117
Athearn to say or do a thing without an aim.
No, not she; she never had a thought or feeling
that was not linked to something behind the
curtain, and that she did not intend to spin out
like the spider, ad infinitum, before she died.”

And thus they chatted away some time; at
length Miss Emmons took the light, and leading
the way through the long, dark entry-way adjoining,
and up the old-fashioned winding stairs,
followed by her companions, sought the retreat
of her own apartment, leaving darkness and
silence behind.

10* 10(3)v

Chapter VII.

“Well,” said Mrs. Athearn, when she found
herself the next day at candle-light in the midst
of the same loved, happy circle, “last evening
we examined hastily the state of the Christian
church in a faint light, at the commencement of
the sixteenth century. What was the result of
that examination in your mind, Miss Willard?”

Miss Willard. “I thought it was high time a
different state of things existed, if matters were
really so. But the more I dwell upon the subject,
the greater is my perplexity how abuses
and enormities could have arrived at such a pass,
and Christians meanwhile be quiet spectators.”

Caroline Clifford. “For my part, I know I
should have made a move to bring about a different
state of things.”

Mrs. A. “I dare say, Miss Charlotte, that 10(4)r 119
you would, but it would have been one of
your characteristic moves. You would have
peeped from your hiding-place in all the zeal of
your fury and indignation, and hurled a massy
rock into the surrounding waters that would
have dashed and eddied for the moment its circling
waves till broken by the shore, and while
wondering and amazed, every eye would turn to
see who had done this thing, with zeal exhausted
and courage daunted, you would have darted
back again to your retreat.”

“Such efforts are mostly vain; they accomplish
nothing; they irritate and alarm, and do more
hurt than good. Had the stir which the reformers
made been of this character, the blessings
of the Reformation would never have dawned
upon us. He who makes an effort that will be
felt, and will accomplish that for which it was
intended, must not only make a move as you say,
but stand prepared when every eye is fixed, and
every tongue utters, ‘who has dared—who?’
to meet the gaze with eye undaunted, and say
with tone unfaltering—‘I’.
But let us now look at Christians in the attitude
in which they stood in the Romish church.
The abuses to which we have alluded came one
by one, treading hard on the heels of each
The Pope’s supremacy was established, or
pretended to, in the seventh century; his infallibility
was decreed in the eleventh. The first
mention of the seven sacraments is made by 10(4)v 120
writers of the twelfth century. Transubstantiation
had no footing before the seventh or eighth
century. But all these, and various other doctrines
as absurd and false, established by tradition
and confirmed by use, awaited the generations
of the fourteenth century. How few in
the whole mass of population, as they crowded
upon the stage of life, and adopted this or that
article of belief, and yielded to this or that
custom, would stop to inquire why is this, and
wherefore that.
Ask, even in our own land of books, newspapers,
and sources of information numberless,
the mass of people, why is this usage? and how
came this into practice? and half would give no
better reason than because—some would say it
is the custom, and always has been so ever since
I can remember—was so in the days of our
fathers, and therefore it is right and proper that
it should be so now. So in the days before the
Reformation. The religious knowledge of the
people was drawn from public sentiment and
prevailing customs, and their faith was pinned
on the priest’s sleeve. Unacquainted with the
Bible, they were satisfied with the current opinions,
and never thought of examining a subject
in which they suspected no error.
Here and there we find an inquisitive mind,
searching for the why, and doubting the wherefore;
but how few, even of these, had leisure to
probe deep; and of that number, most were
wanting in moral courage to come forth alone,
like David, and cope with Goliah.
10(5)r 121 Well was it for the world, that there was a
Luther and a Calvin, a Knox and a Zuingle!
Well was it too for generations yet unborn,
and for ages yet to come, that the mother of Martin
, in the limited boundary of her sphere
of action—her retired home—did her duty
faithfully in the training of her son! For, ‘by
her careful tuition, the devotional ardor which
formed the prominent feature of Luther’s character,’
and did such wonders for Christendom,
was laid.”

“Oh! how little do mothers generally feel
their awful responsibility,”
said Mrs. Athearn,
as a tear, gushing from the depth of her feelings,
glistened in her eye, perhaps at the thought
of her own responsibility as a teacher and guide
of so many youthful immortals.

“I long to know more of Luther,” said little
Alice, with a brightening eye.

“I have told you, I believe,” replied Mrs.
, “that when he first appeared conspicuous
to the public, he was a young man of superior
talents and acquirements, of distinguished
piety, and an ardent native temperament. Such
was his reputation for general erudition and
expertness at scholastic philosophy, that he
received the appointment of professor of Logic
in the newly established University of Wittemberg,
founded by Frederic, elector of Saxony,
at the early age of 25. He exchanged the
philosophical for the theological chair in 15121512, 10(5)v 122
and in 15171517, then at the age of 34, his open
hostility to the church of Rome commenced.”

Ellen Ormond. “Was Luther a Roman Catholic?”

Mrs. A. “Yes; in his own words ‘a most
frantic Papist; so intoxicated, nay, so drenched
in the dogmas of the Pope, that he was
quite ready to put to death, if he had been
able, or co-operate with those who would have
put to death, persons who refused obedience to
the Pope in a single article.’”

“True, the personal character of the pontiffs
who had immediately preceded the era of
which we speak, had exceedingly degraded them
in the eyes of the well-informed part of the
community; but Luther, like many others,
bowed devoutly to the See of Rome, while he
retained little respect for the character of its
occupants. He had been greatly shocked, as I
mentioned last evening, by the luxury, licentiousness
and debauchery of the Romish clergy
on his visit to Rome. ‘He would not,’ he
often remarked, ‘for the value of a thousand
florins, have missed the instruction afforded him
by this journey.’
The scenes he witnessed, contributed,
more than any thing, to open his eyes
to Papal delusion. His intimate acquaintance
too with the little red morocco Latin Bible,
which he had found in the monastery and studied
daily, prepared him to detect the discordance
of Romish tenets with Holy Writ, and the 10(6)r 123
utter inconsistences of Popish practices with
divine commands.
This change of views was gradual and almost
imperceptible; and it was not until the disgusting
and overbearing manner of Tetzel, in his
sale of indulgences, awakened his attention
particularly to that point, that he boldly and
openly came forward to oppose any of the doctrines
of the Papal system.”

Mary Dunbar. “Who was Tetzel, Mrs.

Mrs. A. “A notoriously immoral, ignorant,
but bold Dominican monk, who had been
selected for the traffic of indulgences in Saxony,
on account of his activity and popular address.”

“When Leo Tenth was advanced to the Papal
chair, he found the coffers of the church nearly
emptied by the extravagant dissipation of his
predecessors. To replenish them, he had recourse
to the sale of indulgences, and Tetzel,
among others, was an agent, (as we should say,)
for one of the provinces.
The ostensible motives, however, for the present
collections, were the expense of carrying on
the war against the infidels, and finishing, magnificently,
the church of St. Peter at Rome; but
the money raised was in fact appropriated to
neither purpose.
Had Tetzel possessed more prudence, and
been less presumptuous and disgusting in his
harangues, Luther, deeply absorbed in his solitary 10(6)v 124
meditations and private studies, might not
have been roused to active opposition.
But he seemed in his zeal entirely to have
forgotten himself, and ventured to go a length in
extolling the efficacy of indulgences, which the
darkest age would not have tolerated. He declared
‘the purchasers of them had remission
of all their sins, past, present and to come,
however great their enormity.’
‘If any man,’ said he, ‘purchase letters of
indulgence, his soul may rest secure with respect
to salvation. The souls confined in purgatory,
for whose redemption indulgences are purchased,
as soon as the money tinkles in the chest, instantly
escape from the place of torment and
ascend into heaven. For twelve pence, you may
redeem the soul of your father out of purgatory
and are you so ungrateful that you will not
rescue your parent from torment &c.’
even boasted, ‘that he saved more souls from
hell by indulgences, than the apostle Peter had
converted to Christianity by his preaching!
And that a red cross, elevated in the churches
with the arms of the Pope, had the same virtue
as the cross of Christ.’”

Miss Emmons. “I have heard Luther’s first
opposition to the court of Rome imputed to vindictive
motives. Some pretend his resistance
arose from jealousy of the Augustine friars,
on being superseded by the Dominican monks
in the exercise of this lucrative traffic, (these
two orders being at enmity.)”

11(1)r 125

“Others have said, that Luther, in the exercise
of his office as confessor, became irritated and
provoked at the refusal of some persons who
came to him to confess, to undergo the penance
he prescribed, on the plea that they had already
received remission in the shape of an indulgence
from Tetzel. Do you think these accusations

Mrs. A. “Luther’s contempt for money, and
the fact that the Augustinians were never entrusted
with the sale of indulgences in Germany,
are sufficient to falsify the first imputation. And
we know, that in the beginning he was actuated
by no irritation at the court of Rome, for he proceeded
on the belief that the Pope would approve
and support his opposition; his opinion of
Leo at this time was high—indeed, the fame of
his family, his reputation as a liberal patron of
literature and the arts, and the exterior plausibility
of his character, rendered him extremely
popular and respected among all classes.”

“Luther candidly confesses, that, ‘on beginning
to question the sale of indulgences, he knew
nothing of their origin or history.’
How much his abhorrence of Tetzel’s unbounded
licentiousness, and how much the fact
of his wasting in gambling and drinking what
he had extorted from the superstitious people,
under pretence of granting them pardon, influenced
his conduct, I know not. But no wonder
his indignation was roused, and his zeal
fired. The doctrines and practices of Tetzel, 11 11(1)v 126
affected the minds of others as they did his;
but none had the honesty or courage to come
forward boldly, and check his impudence and
Luther’s first measure was to write to Albert,
archbishop of Magdeburg, who employed Tetzel
as his deputy, and who received half the profits;
he expressed his fears of the evil results, which
would arise from a continuation of the traffic, and
entreated him to withdraw his license from Tetzel
—but the archbishop was too much interested
in its success to listen to this. Tetzel had become
exceedingly exasperated against Luther,
by the complaints of those to whom he had refused
absolution, because they would not submit
to the penances he had prescribed; in his rashness,
he threatened Luther, and all who should
call in question the efficacy of his commodities,
with the inquisition, and even caused a pile to
be erected for the burning of heretics. But
these measures were little calculated on his part,
to intimidate the bold Luther, or reconcile him
to a traffic, which he found nowhere countenanced
in the Scriptures.
Luther began at length, in the pulpit, to point
out the evils with which indulgences were attended.
‘He exclaimed against the profane
lives of those who sold them; pointed out the
folly of relying for salvation on such delusions,
and directed the people to Christ as the only
way to the Father, and the proper object of their
11(2)r 127 He then published ninety-five propositions, in
which he distinctly stated his views of indulgences;
these, according to the customs of the
age, were affixed to the church walls, with an
invitation to all men of learning to meet on a
certain day, to debate upon them.”

Julia Marvin. “But I should not suppose such
bold, public measures, would have been relished
by the Romish court. What did the Pope say
to his proceedings, Mrs. Athearn?”

Mrs. A. “Little or no attention was paid
to them. The Pope regarded the matter as
a sort of party dispute, and did not seem inclined
to interfere with it. To use his own
words, ‘Friar Martin,’ says he, ‘is a man of
very fine genius, and these disputes are merely
the effects of monastic envy.’”

Maria Ellis. “Was his invitation to debate
the subject in public accepted?”

Mrs. A. “No; the day came, but no person
appeared to answer or confute his propositions.
But neither the threats of Tetzel, nor the silence
of a challenged public, were the weapons to arrest
the awakened inquiries of a mind after truth,
like Luther’s. Finding his propositions disregarded
in the way by which he hoped to call out
an expression of public sentiment, he caused them
to be printed, and widely circulated; they spread
with the rapidity of wildfire, their novelty and
boldness greatly contributing to their extension.
Tetzel followed Luther’s proposition by two
theses—one containing 106 positions, the other
50; their composition is generally ascribed to Conrad 11(2)v 128
, professor of divinity in Frankfort.
But they were written in a style which showed
the weakness of the Romish cause, and the dictatorial
tone of the Dominican fraternity.”

Maria Ellis. “Was their publication as little
regarded as Luther’s?”

Mrs. A. “No; more than three hundred
monks were present at the disputation of the
former, as if to mortify Luther. Tetzel’s next
step was to make a public bonfire of Luther’s
works, the highest indignity he could manifest.”

Miss Emmons. “Did not Luther’s party retort
the same soon after, on Tetzel’s publications?”

Mrs. A. “It is true, that in the rashness of
their indignation, the students in the Univerity
of Wittemberg, committed this outrage on Tetzel,
to revenge their superior—but it was entirely
without Luther’s knowledge, and caused
him much grief. In a letter to a friend, who
supposed him not unconscious of the measure,
Luther himself says, ‘I am astonished that you
should believe me the author of the burning of
Tetzel’s positions. Do you think me so totally
destitute of common sense, that I, a member of
the church, should, in a place not my own, attempt
to do so great an injury to one who holds
so high an office as Tetzel?’”

“It was amazing, with what rapidity the opinions
of Luther spread; throughout the kingdom
they were gaining ground. In some districts,
the venders of indulgences could gain no employment
at all; and in others, their lives were
in jeopardy. Many minds were roused to inquisitiveness, 11(3)r 129
and many men of literature and
science, became converts to his doctrines.”

Miss Marvin. “And did the Roman court
still remain quiet, and regardless of the increasing

Mrs. A. “It seemed for a long time, as if a
spirit of deep slumber from the Lord had fallen
on the head of that apostate church; and the
secretly working leaven had well-nigh leavened
the whole mass of community, before the Roman
pontiff was roused from his state of indolence
and security.”

“Luther had followed his Propositions, and
his sermons in German on the subject of indulgences,
by a Defence of his Propositions,
and various other papers, exposing the errors
which his investigations were daily unfolding,
and confuting the opinions expressed by his adversaries.
But the sound of alarm had reached
the Romish court too late; Luther had been let
alone too long. It was soon found no easy matter
to quell such a general excitement, or to retrieve
the injury done the Papal system. The
Pope, however, immediately began to adopt
measures for the security of the church against
an attack which he now deemed more serious in
its nature, than a petty, private dispute; but unfortunately
for the falling cause, he adopted just
those measures which proved, in the result, the
most detrimental to its interests.”

“What did he do?” asked Alice.

Mrs. A. “He summoned Luther to appear at 11* 11(3)v 130
Rome, within sixty days, before the auditor of
the chamber, and the inquisitor-general, empowered
to examine and give decisions to his
doctrines. He wrote also to the elector of
Saxony, Luther’s patron and friend, beseeching
him to withdraw his protection from a man,
avowing tenets so heretical and profane.”

“Did Luther go?” asked one of the young

Mrs. A. “No; his friends as well as himself
easily foresaw from the strain of the letters, and
the selection of a judge as partial and prejudiced
as Prierias, what sentence might be expected.
All joined in a request of the Pope, that the examination
of his doctrines might be committed
to some persons of learning and authority in
Germany. To this, Leo assented, and appointed
cardinal Cajetan, his legate in Germany, to hear
and determine the cause.”

“What was the result?” inquired Maria Ellis
with considerable anxiety.

Mrs. A. “At his first interview, the cardinal
received Luther with a show of respect, and entered
into a formal dispute with him concerning
the doctrines contained in his theses. Cajetan
possessed superior talents as a theologian; but
he was passionately attached to the Roman See,
and referred only to the decrees of the Pope and
the opinions of the fathers, while Luther appealed
to the Bible alone, and would not yield a single
point unless convinced he was in error from
the Word of God—thus they found their weapons 11(4)r 131
vastly dissimilar—they met on unequal
ground, and of course the contest was altogether

“Cajetan at length became enraged, and, assuming
a high tone of authority, ordered him to retract
the errors he had uttered in regard to indulgences
and the nature of faith; and forbade the
future publication of any of his new and dangerous
opinions, under pain of immediate punishment.”

Miss Arnold. “How did Luther receive this?”

Mrs. A. “He was astonished, as you may well
suppose, at such an abrupt mention of a recantation,
before any endeavors were used to convince
him that he was mistaken. He had flattered
himself, that, in conference with a man of such
distinguished abilities, he should be able to
remove many imputations with which he had
been loaded by the malice and ignorance of his
antagonists—but the peremptory, irritated tone
of this cardinal dashed in a moment all the hopes
on this point which he had entertained. From
all I can learn, Luther manifested the temper
and spirit of a Christian. Fear of the future did
not suffer his native intrepidity of mind at this
time to desert him. Fully persuaded of the
truth of his own tenets, he frankly and firmly declared,
‘that he could not, with a safe conscience,
renounce opinions which he believed to be true;
nor should any consideration ever induce him to
do what would be so base in itself, and so offensive
to God.’”

11(4)v 132

Miss Marvin. “With the fate of Wickliffe,
Huss, Jerome, and a host of others before him,
he manifested a noble spirit!”

Mrs. A. “Yes; and this decided, fearless manner
did not arise from the momentary impulse of
a rash, presumptuous temper, reckless of consequences,
for in a letter addressed a short time
previous to Staupitz, the superior of the Augustinian
order, requesting him to transmit a printed
copy of the ‘Defence of his Propositions to the
Pope, that the malicious insinuations of his enemies
might be counteracted,’
we find the same
intrepid spirit, connected with deep humility and
a conciliatory temper. He says, ‘I request you
will send these trifles of mine to that most excellent
pontiff, Leo Tenth, that they may serve
to plead my cause at Rome. Not that I wish
you to be joined with me in danger; for it is my
desire that these things be done at my own hazard.
I expect that Christ, as Judge, will pronounce
what is right by the mouth of the Pope.
To those of my friends who would alarm me for
the consequences, I have nothing else to say
than what Reuchlin said, “He who is poor, has
nothing to fear; he can lose nothing.”
I possess
no property, neither do I desire any. There
remains to me only a frail body, harassed by continual
illness, and if they take away my life by
open violence or stratagem, they make me but
little poorer. I am satisfied with the possession
of my Redeemer and Propitiator, the Lord Jesus
, whom I shall praise as long as I exist. 11(5)r 133
If any one be unwilling to join with me in these
praises, what is that to me? Let him raise his
voice after his own fashion. The Lord Jesus
will save me forever.’”

“In father proof of the meek, conciliating
spirit indulged by Luther, I might mention that
during his interviews with Cajetan, he expressed
great reverence for the Pope—offered to submit
the dispute to certain Universities, and even
promised to remain silent on the subject of
indulgences, provided a similar injunction were
given to his adversaries. But Cajetan was inflexible;
he still insisted on a recantation, and
Luther, calmly but firmly refusing to do violence
to the dictates of his conscience, was commanded
to leave his presence and not to return unless
resolved implicitly to obey his orders.”

Two or three young ladies, as Mrs. Athearn
paused here, raised their eyes from their work,
and began to speak, all at once. One smiled,
and another smiled, signifying by a nod, a relinquishment
of her intention to speak at present,
and an invitation to her neighbour to make known
her request. The eldest then turned to Mrs. Athearn,
saying, she “should judge from one or two
clauses in her last remarks, referring to Luther’s
reverence for the Pope, and his expectation that
Christ, as Judge, would pronounce what was
right by the mouth of the Pope, that, as yet, his
faith in the divine original of Papal power, &c.
was not shaken.”

Mrs. A. “No; the knowledge of truth was 11(5)v 134
not poured into his mind, all at once; when he
began to oppose Tetzel, the Reformation which
he afterwards effected was far from his intention
—indeed, I doubt not with his views at that
time, he would have trembled with horror at the
thoughts of what he afterwards gloried in accomplishing.
It was by industry and meditation that
he arrived at the clear and enlightened views
which he eventually entertained. His examination
of one error in Popish doctrine led to the
detection of another; and as he loosened one
pillar in the mighty fabric of Popery, another
tottered and another trembled, till, amazed, he
found the whole structure defective. It is easy
to follow the pathway of thought which he travelled;
and it was an easy, natural task for the
clear vision and discriminating mind of a man
like Martin Luther, as he turned to the right and
left, to detect, in their successive course, the gross
defects of such a corrupt system. Thus, when
the extravagant tenets concerning indulgences
arrested his investigating glance, he necessarily
inquired into the true cause of our justification
and acceptance with God—and here the radically
false notion of the Papist awaited him.
The discovery of this pointed significantly to the
utter uselessness of pilgrimages and penances to
merit divine favor—to the vanity of a reliance on
the intercessions of saints and the impiety of
image-worship—the abuses of auricular confession
—and the absurd imaginary existence of
purgatory. When he reached this height in 11(6)r 135
such a system of errors, how natural that he
should pause here to call in question the divine
original of Papal power—the base of the whole
structure. When his mind became settled on
this point, the mists of Papal infallibility and the
decisions of any other human authority quickly
vanished, and the clear, blazing light of the word
of God
, as the only standard of appeal in theological
truth, stood forth in its glory. No mind but
the Infinite can fully comprehend every thing at
a glance; can take in cause and effect, with all
their intermediate gradations, at once. Constituted
as we are, one object must be viewed at a
time, and every obstacle must singly disappear at
each successive step in knowledge. To this
gradual progress, Luther owed his success. It
was this slow, insensible dawning of light in the
mind of the community that startled not the wariness
of the Pope, nor roused the deep slumbers
of the church. One direct, violent attack,
at the outset, on the authority of the church
would have removed Luther at once from the
scene, and extinguished the faint glimmerings of
light which were kindling around him. But he
was suffered silently to undermine the whole system,
before Leo was awakened to a serious alarm
for the safety of his cause.”

“In his expressions of reverence for the pontiff’s
character, Luther was sincere. You know
I told you, Leo was popular and outwardly correct,
though his private indulgences and excesses
would have told another tale of him, and the 11(6)v 136
Reformer himself had occasion ere long to see
and know more of this Head of the church than
by mere report, as we shall see, and he found his
respect and esteem in this instance grossly misplaced.”

“But what was the inquiry you were about to
said Mrs. Athearn, turning to Miss Ormond.

Miss Ormond. “I was about to request some
particulars, relative to Wickliffe, Huss, and Jerome,
to whom you have twice alluded; their
names are perfectly familiar to me, but their history
is not.”

Mrs. A. “I am glad you have made the
inquiry. Their names are dear to the cause
they espoused; and their prayers, their tears,
and their blood proved the seeds of those glorious
results, which Luther and his contemporaries
were destined to mature.”


“Wickliffe,” continued Mrs. Athearn, “was
an Englishman, who lived in the commencement
of the fourteenth century; a man of fine talents
and extraordinary learning. His acquirements
attained for him the office of wardenship of Canterbury
; but his discernment in detecting,
and his boldness in openly and severely censuring
some of the flagrant corruptions in the church,
soon roused against him the indignation of the
clergy, and procured his deposition by archbishop
Langham. Wickliffe appealed to the
Pope; but the freedom with which he had
attacked the monastic orders only confirmed the
decision. His fame increased, and four years
after his deposition, his sovereign presented to
him the rectory of Lutterworth in Leicestershire.
He still declared his sentiments freely
and boldly, undaunted by former persecution.
He even hestitated not to affirm that the Pope 12 12(1)v 138
was only equal to a common priest—that Peter
was not superior to the other apostles—that the
church abounded in superstitions and idolatries,
and that a reformation was absolutely necessary.
He vindicated the right of the common people to
read the Bible, and actually translated the Scriptures
into the English language, and promoted
its circulation among them. These opinions
and measures were not long suffered unmolested.
He was cited in 13771377, by the exasperated Popish
clergy, to appear at London before the archbishop
of Canterbury and the bishop of London; but
no formal examination of his doctrines took
place, for no sooner had he presented himself
before his judges, than some high words passing
between the duke of Lancaster, one of Wickliffe’s
patrons, and the bishop, the meeting was
dissolved, and Wickliffe was left to preach with
his accustomed boldness, till the year following,
when the duke having declined in power, Wickliffe
was summoned by the bishops a second
time. He obeyed the citation—but, protected by
several persons of authority, and countenanced
by multitudes, his enemies dared not pass any
sentence against him. The clergy however exerted
themselves to the utmost to suppress his
Translation of the Scriptures; but the more they
strove to prevent its circulation, the more anxious
and inquisitive to read it the people became, and
the more rapidly it in reality extended. Those
who could not procure a whole copy purchased a 12(2)r 139
part; the light of revelation spread swiftly, and
many by it shook off the delusions of spiritual
tyranny, ran in the way of its commandments,
and became heirs of a glorious immortality. He
labored faithfully and zealously to a good old
age, and, though he providentially escaped the
cruelties of martyrdom which many, who followed
him, suffered, he lived amid persecution
and trial, finding truly, that through much tribulation
the faithful enter the kingdom of heaven.
He died at Lutterworth, of palsy, in 13841384, in the
60th year of his age. His memory was not forgotten
by Papists, nor did the influence of the
labors of his life cease after his death; indeed,
my dear young ladies, could we now see with the
unclouded vision which we shall inherit in eternity,
I dare say we might trace his influence still
in glorious events, connected with that chain of
faithful labors, which, extending even to our
time, is saving millions as it passes by.”

“But I was about to say, so great was the inveteracy
of Papists toward him and his labors,
that, forty years after his death, they collected
and burned his works at Oxford; and in 14151415,
the council of Constance, after condemning his
opinions, as if regretting their past lenity to him,
and anxious to do all the little injury which at
this late period remained to be done, ordered his
bones to be taken up and burnt
, wisely, however,
adding this charitable caution, ‘If they can be
discerned from the bodies of other faithful people. 12(2)v 140’
This sentence was afterwards executed by
order of the Pope; his remains were dug out of
the grave and committed to the flames!”

“What good, Mrs. Athearn, could such a
measure do?”
exclaimed little Alice, her blue
eyes dilating with unfeigned astonishment.

“Sure enough,” replied her teacher, “it might
serve to gratify some of the sinful feelings of the
natural heart, but none of the holy emotions of
a sanctified one.”

“You seem in deep thought, Miss Marvin,”
said Mrs. Athearn, as, turning away from Alice,
she caught the thoughtful expression of Julia’s
usually animated face; she was leaning one arm
on the table before her, carelessly supporting her
lace frame with the other—her eyes were fixedly
set upon her teacher, though she was evidently
unconscious they were so. To Mrs. Athearn’s
discriminating eye, well read in the expressions
of a youthful countenance, and a sure decypherer
of them as indexes of the soul, she seemed in the
quandary of one, who holds one end of a thought
in a faint grasp, anxiously searching for the other.
“What perplexes you, my dear?” continued
her teacher.

“I was thinking,” the young lady replied, as
the inquiry recalled her eyes’ usual lustre, and
created on of her sweet, faint smiles, “that
Wickliffe did not die unstained—unshaken in his

“I was thinking, I had read on some occasion
his intrepidity forsook him, and though not actually 12(3)r 141
left, like Peter, to deny his Lord and Master,
that he was led, so to qualify his opinions or disguise
them, as to leave a blemish on his faithfulness.
But I believe I was mistaken; I suppose
I had allusion to some other man, but I cannot
recal whom.”

Mrs. A. “No; your recollections are of Wickliffe,
though indistinct and somewhat incorrect.
During his second examination before the bishops,
it is said he became somewhat intimidated, and
was led to some qualifications of his sentiments,
which his friends and himself, in other circumstances,
could not justify; but many foul aspersions
have been cast upon him which are false. His
knowledge of some of the doctrines of the gospel
was, I doubt not, in a measure defective, but considering
the darkness of the age in which he lived,
it is not wonderful that it should be so. He held,
however, the doctrines of the election of grace, the
natural depravity of man, and his utter inability
to do any thing to merit salvation; and that justification
is to be obtained solely through the
righteousness of Christ. To those who imagined
they could obtain salvation, partly through
their own good works, he replied with this short
prayer, ‘Heal us gratis, O Lord.’ There was a
spirit of frankness and humility in him, which
possesses us with the conviction, that, though not
free from error, he was truly a devoted and sincere
servant of our Lord Jesus Christ. In labors
he must have been abundant; we may form some
idea of their extent, from the fact that the number12* 12(3)v 142
of his volumes, which were burnt by order of
Subineo, archbishop of Prague, amounted nearly
to 200. Wickliffe once made this declaration,
‘Let God be my witness, that I principally
intend the honor of God and the good of the
church, from a spirit of veneration to the divine
word, and of obedience to the law of Christ.
But if, with that intention, a sinister view of vainglory,
of secular gain, or of vindictive malice
hath crept in, unknown to myself, I sincerely
grieve on the account, and by the grace of God
will guard against it.’”

“I have given you but a slight outline of the
man, but enough to show you his character.”

“John Huss,” continued Mrs. Athearn, “was
a native of Bohemia. His parentage was mean,
but by superior genius and industry, he rose to
eminence; obtained various honors from the
University of Prague, and at length was made
confessor to Sophia of Bavaria, wife of Wenceslaus,
king of Bohemia.”

“Obtaining access to some of Wickliffe’s works,
he became acquainted with his evangelical views
—his own mind gradually became enlightened,
and he was led to attack the existing abuses in
the Romish church with great fidelity and zeal.
The abounding impostures of false miracles and
the vices of the clergy were the particular points
to which his first animadversions were directed.
The clergy were soon roused to opposition, and
the Pope at length excommunicated him. Huss
sent proctors to Rome to answer for him; but 12(4)r 143
they were committed to prison—from man he
could obtain no redress—to God alone he could

Here one of the little girls inquired the meaning
of the word, “proctor”.

“Johnson, Walker, and Webster are all near
at hand,”
said her teacher, smiling; “all ready
to answer any such inquiry, and you know, my
dear, you are far more apt to retain the knowledge
you acquire by your own researches, than
what you obtain by the simple, careless loan of
a listening ear.”

Mrs. Athearn waited a moment till the little
girl had found its meaning, and then said,
“Huss died at length a martyr—suffered an ignominious
death—fell a victim to the cruelty of
the Romish church; and solely on account of his
holy life.”

“Was he firm and faithful to the last?” inquired
Miss Arnold.

Mrs. A. “Yes; he died nobly—freely—joyfully.”

“The first step of Papal tyranny, after his excommunication
from the church, which I named
to you, was a command to abstain from preaching.
But his enemies did not stop here. He
was summoned to appear before the council of
Constance, and he obeyed the citation, though
so strongly was he impressed with the belief that
he should never return, as to write on the outside
of a letter to a friend, immediately before 12(4)v 144
his departure, entreating him not to open it till
he should receive news of his death.”

Alice. “Did he really never return?”

Mrs:. A. “He never did; his forebodings were

Miss Emmons. “Do you think with such feelings
it was his duty to have gone? Was it not
rash, if he had reason to apprehend danger,
thus to expose himself to expected death?”

Mrs. A. “There was no apparent reason for
such an apprehension, for his safety was guaranteed
by the emperor Sigismund, who, to induce
his compliance with the citation, had provided
him with a safe-conduct.”

Charlotte Ellis. “What is meant by a safe-

Mrs. A. “A passport—a pledge of protection
in going and returning
. But no sooner was
Huss fairly in the power of the Pope, than it
was most shamefully and treacherously violated.
Bills were posted up against him in Constance,
as an excommunicated heretic—he was then
summoned to appear before the Pope and his
cardinals, instead of the general council, and no
sooner had he arrived at the Pope’s palace, than
he was committed to prison. His generous
friend, count de Chlum, who attended him, complained
to the Pope, but in vain; he wrote to
the emperor, who, to preserve an appearance of
honor, sent orders for his release, but he still
remained in confinement. Sigismund was
deeply leagued with the Pope, notwithstanding 12(5)r 145
his show of friendliness, and Huss soon learned
to ‘put no confidence in princes’—all that he
could do was to commit his cause to Him who
judgeth righteously.”

“The emperor, however, at length openly violated
the solemn engagements of the safe-conduct,
in compliance with the earnest entreaties
of the commisioners who had been appointed
by the Pope to examine him, and who found
themselves greatly impeded in their measures
by it.”

Miss Marvin. “I should think the emperor’s
violated faith rather an unwise example to his
people, and a loud witness to a callous conscience.”

Mrs. A. “He quieted his conscience by the
infamous maxim so current even in these days
with Papists—that ‘no faith is to be kept with
A violated promise is a dangerous
thing—fearful and tremendous often in its consequences.
So did Sigismund find it. This
violated safe-conduct cost him sixteen years of
war and desolation. The Bohemians looked
upon the treatment of their countryman as an
affront offered to their country, and forty thousand
men rose to avenge it! Thus a civil war
was kindled from the ashes of Huss and Jerome,
which not all the forces of Germany nor the
terror of the crusades could quell. And now,
young ladies, let me drop a trifling caution here
to you. A broken promise is a serious thing—
though young people are by no means apt to 12(5)v 146
think so. But many a life has been filled with
bitterness even to the grave’s brink, in consequence
of the violation of an apparently trivial
promise. Never lightly make one, and when
made, let no temptation whatever induce you to
break it.”

“But to return to Huss. Notwithstanding the remonstrances of the
friends of Huss in Bohemia against these proceedings,
he was confined in an unwholesome
dungeon, continually harassed by the commissioners,
who used every endeavor to oblige him
to retract; but their arts were fruitless. He
remained firm, but his health suffered, and he
became dangerously ill; he was then removed
to the fortress of Gottleben, but the rigor of his
confinement was unabated. He remained deaf
to all the solicitations used to induce him to
recant, and persisted in demanding a public
trial before the council. About this time, Jerome
of Prague made his appearance at Constance.
He was the strongly attached friend of Huss,
and had been a strenuous co-worker with him in
his efforts to effect a reformation in Bohemia.
When Huss was cited to appear before the council
of Constance, Jerome encouraged him by
his counsel, and comforted him by his prayers
and sympathy, and promised, should he be oppressed,
to follow and support him. True to
his word and friendship, and regardless of his
own safety, so deeply did he feel for the welfare
of his afflicted friend, he came in this extremity 12(6)r 147
to redeem his pledge. It seemed as if, like
David and Jonathan, the souls of Huss and
Jerome were knit together; and like them, in
their deaths, they were not far divided.”

Emily Brown. “Did Jerome die a martyr, as
well as Huss?”

Mrs. A. “Yes; but the latter fell a victim
first. After many solicitations, Huss obtained
three separate hearings before the council. His
deportment throughout was characterized by
integrity and candor, while that of his persecutors
exhibited a striking picture of malignity
and rage. He was strongly pressed to retract
his errors, to own the justice of the accusations,
and to submit to the decrees of the council.”

“He calmly replied to their promises and
threatenings, ‘to abjure is to renounce an error
that hath been held; but as in many of those
articles, errors are laid to my charge which I
never thought of, how can I renounce them on
oath? As to those articles which I own to be
mine, I will renounce them with all my heart, if
any man will teach me sounder doctrines.’
a universal retraction was still insisted upon by
the court—he, of course, remained inflexible,
and after a tedious examination he was again
remanded to prison and put in irons. As soon
as he had departed, the emperor denounced him
‘a heretic, fit for the flames,’—and before the
second council he declared, that rather than
support him in his heresy, ‘he would, with his
own hands, kindle the fire to burn him.’”

12(6)v 148

Alice. “The emperor, Mrs. Athearn, did you
mean to say?”

Mrs. A. “Yes, my dear—so cruelly and perfidiously
had he forgotten his public faith.”

“He was followed to the prison by a form of
recantation, which he was strongly urged to
sign, but the holy man refused, declaring with
just indignation, ‘he would rather be cast into
the sea with a millstone about his neck, than
acknowledge that to be true, which he knew to
be false.’
Repeated attempts were made to
overcome his constancy, and every indignity
heaped upon him, but all to no purpose. His
books were collected and burnt—he was again
brought before the council—accused—and condemned
—silenced when he attempted to answer
his impeachment, and tauntingly upbraided,
when despairing of all human succor, he knelt
in his extremity before them, and lifting up his
hands toward heaven he entreated his Saviour’s
blessing, and committed his cause to Him who
could neither be corrupted by bribes, nor deceived
by false witnesses. He was then insulted
by being arrayed in priest’s garments, and a
paper coronet, on which were three painted
devils and this inscription, ‘arch-heretic’, they
placed upon his head, saying ‘We devote thy
soul to the infernal devils.’
‘Oh Lord Jesus, into thy hands I commit my
Huss meekly replied; ‘to thee I commend
my spirit, which thou hast redeemed—
and I am glad to wear this crown of ignominy 13(1)r 149
for the love of Him who wore a crown of
He was led to the place of execution—the
fire was kindled. Amid the crackling of combustibles
he was heard to sing a hymn of praise
to God—and these his last words were distinctly
caught, ‘Jesus Christ, thou Son of the living
God, have mercy on me.’
Thus died John Huss; and long was the day
remembered and commemorated by the Bohemians,
in honor of his fidelity, and in applause
of his steadfastness. Fires were kindled on the
mountains, and the rustic song of sacred praise
long and sweetly rose amid the evening shades
of the anniversary of his martyrdom, from
throngs of his country-people, who loved his
memory, and followed in the steps of his faith.”

“I hope,” said little Alice, as she raised her
tearful eye to her teacher, “that you are not
going to tell us such a melancholy story of Jerome.
I do not love to hear of such cruel

“Before you have waded through all the seas
of blood, into which I must take you, Alice,”

said Mrs. Athearn, mournfully, “if you follow
me through the dreadful scenes of the Reformation,
you will hear a deeper dirge than you now
have done, and be compelled to draw a deeper
sigh than that which just escaped you.”

“In regard to Jerome, Alice, I cannot tell a
tale fraught with so little that is melancholy. 13 13(1)v 150
The death of Huss never filled me with the
gloom you feel—his was a glorious end.”

Two or three of the young ladies looked at
Mrs. Athearn in some surprise, inwardly wondering,
I suppose, what could be more melancholy
than such sufferings as John Huss was
compelled to endure in life, and what death
more dreadful than burning at the stake. She
read the feeling, and said,

“When I hear of one, who, like Huss, has
‘fought the good fight,’ and ‘kept the faith,’
who has kept himself ‘unspotted from the
—of whom even his enemies can say
there is almost ‘no fault in him;’ when I hear
that he was willing to ‘spend and be spent for
and that he at last ‘came off more than
conqueror over death and the grave, by a triumphant
exit from this world of sin,’
though for the
moment weak nature must pause to sympathize
in the agonies with which the mortal puts off its
fleshy tabernacle, yet on the whole, my feelings
are far from a sober cast. I rejoice, yea, even
rejoice, that his work is done, and well done—
that he was faithful even to the last—that he was
counted worthy to suffer for his Saviour’s sake,
and that he has reached that blissful land, where
sorrow and sin shall be no more. I cannot
mourn for him, or over him; and with such
feelings, I look at the martyrdom of Huss.
Jerome too, died well at last—honored God
in the death-scene, when the scorching flames
surrounded him, he stayed his soul on God—
and though covered with blisters, and writhing 13(2)r 151
in the horrid agonies of the stake, his voice rose
in the sweetest strains of praise to Him, who
died for him and redeemed him with his blood
—but he did not remain steadfast and upright,
like his companion, during the hour of trial and
He fell—in an evil hour he recanted—
he was suffered to yield a listening ear to the
wiles of the adversary and the urgent entreaties
of his accusers; and he anathematized
the articles of Wickliffe and Huss,
and declared that he believed every thing
which the council believed. But he made himself
work for bitter repentance. Like Peter, he
mourned his fall in secret, and he sought as
public a confession of his shame and cowardice
as his disgraceful dissimulation had been.”

“How sad his fall!” exclaimed Miss Emmons,
“what an occasion for triumph his recantation
furnished his adversaries!”

Mrs. A. “True; though their triumph was of
short continuance. A striking lesson it conveys
to us! Oh, how should we pray lest in an evil
hour, we too, be led into temptation, and left to
dishonor God and deny his name. May we not
be high-minded, but fear.”

Maria Ellis. “He was placed in very trying
circumstances. How little do we know our
strength till seriously tested.”

“My dear Maria, our strength is perfect
replied Mrs. Athearn. “Had Jerome
leaned in the hour of trial on the strength
of his Lord, his feet would never have slipped. 13(2)v 152
We must watch and pray continually. Let his
disgraceful fall and bitter repentance, be a timely
warning to you, my dear girls, who have taken
the vows of God upon you. Lean upon him,
and you shall never fall.”

“But, Mrs. Athearn, it is scarcely possible we
shall ever be placed in similar circumstances,”

said Frances Andrews.

Mrs. A. “Probably we never shall. A temptation
of so great weight as the fear of death,
may never cross the path of any one of us, to
palliate any of our down-falls. But if we yield
to those of a slighter nature, then proportionably
greater certainly will our guilt and our condemnation

“How often do young professors bring leanness
into their own souls, and awfully jeopardize
the eternal interests of those over whom they
exert influence, by yielding to slight temptations,
which a momentary struggle might have subdued.
How often have I seen a look, or smile, or
word, even in some of you, connive at sins
which greatly dishonored God, and which emboldened
those who had no fear of Him before
their eyes, to persist in their indulgence, to the
eminent risk of their precious souls.
We may effectually dishonor God and deny
, by a concealment of our sentiments in
circumstances where they should not be withheld
—by a qualification of them to accommodate
ourselves to the views, and to retain our 13(3)r 153
standing in the opinion of those with whom we
associate, by an unwarrantable conformity to the
worldly practices of those around us, through
fear of ridicule, or reproach. To these, and
other similar temptations, we may fall victims,
and God may be as much dishonored by us as
he was by the base recantation of Jerome of

“But you said, Mrs. Athearn,” uttered Lucy
, in a low tone, “that he sincerely repented,
and sought a public confession of his sin.”

Mrs. A. “Yes, Lucy, he did so; with the
greatest firmness, he publicly confessed his cowardice,
and declared there was nothing in his
whole life of which he so bitterly repented as
his recantation.”

“He was of course, condemned to death for
heresy, and as I mentioned to you, died at the
stake soon after the removal of his friend Huss.
But of what were we speaking, Mary Dunbar,
when I commenced a brief notice of these

Mary confessed, with a blush of shame, “she
did not know.”

Mrs. Athearn then requested any of the
younger misses to tell her, if any had been sufficiently
interested in her statements to retain a
recollection of what she had been saying.

Lucy Dana said, “she believed Mrs. Athearn
had just finished her relation of Luther’s examination
before Cajetan”

And Alice added, “Cajetan in a rage commanded13* 13(3)v 154
him to leave his presence, and never
appear before him again, unless resolved to retract
his errors and obey his orders.”

“I am glad,” replied their teacher, “to find
you have been so attentive.”

Then turning to Harriet Emmons, she added,

“Your attention has been of late, particularly
directed to a political history of Germany.
We will depend upon you to give us an insight
into the state of public affairs at the time to
which we have alluded, and to introduce us to
any of the superior powers existing at this
period, which may seem necessary to show us
Luther’s critical situation, and give us some
idea of the obstacles existing to impede the progress
of his reforming plans. We do not wish a
very detailed account; aim at conciseness and


Chapter IX.

Harriet blushed at the task imposed upon
her, although her remarkably retentive memory
had often previously procured for her a similar
one. She paused a few moments, as if to collect
her materials of thought for the undertaking,
and then said,

“She did not know exactly how to commence,
but she rather preferred taking them to the German
court first, to make them acquainted with
her favorite monarch.”

“I believe,” said Mrs. Athearn, “I will just
state two or three facts respecting Luther, before
we follow you into all the splendors of royalty
to which you seem inclined to take us. It seems
scarcely safe to leave our friend Luther, in such
perilous circumstances as he found himself immediately
after his last interview with Cajetan.
We will just conduct him into a place of greater 13(4)v 156
security from Papal zeal, and leave him for the

“You know I related to you the haughty and
violent manner of the legate toward Luther,
during his examination; this fully revealed, both
to himself and his friends, the violent measures
which Papal power might be expected to adopt
towards him. They feared that even the imperial
safe-conduct with which Luther was provided,
would be unable to protect him from the
legate’s power and resentment, and he was prevailed
upon to retire privately from Augsburg to
his own country. His abrupt retreat, and the
publication of an appeal to the Pope, which
Luther prepared before his departure, greatly
enraged Cajetan; he wrote immediately to Luther’s
patron, the elector of Saxony, in terms of
strong complaint, requiring him to send Luther
a prisoner to Rome, or banish him from his territories
—he complied, however, with neither

“Did Frederic decline compliance from attachment
to the Reformer’s doctrines, or from
mere personal partiality?”
inquired Ellen

Her mother replied, “that neither prompted
him; political motives alone influenced his conduct.
Much as Germany and the neighboring
countries resounded with Luther’s fame, the
elector himself had never admitted him into his
presence, never heard one of his discourses, or
even read one of his books.”

13(5)r 157 “He seems to have taken little or no interest
in theological controversies. He was aware of
Luther’s talents and reputation, and knew that
the celebrity which the university under his
patronage had acquired, was owing to him—and
that his removal would be fatal to its interests.
His pride was greatly interested in its success,
and he had bestowed too much attention and
expense on its establishment now to abandon it.
The protection he had heretofore afforded Luther,
had been granted with security and caution;
but the demand of Cajetan induced him
now to discover great concern for his safety,
and more openly than before to favor his measures.
The judges, before the expiration of the
sixty days allowed in the citation, declared Luther
a heretic; and the Pope forthwith issued a
bull of excommunication.
Dark were now the temporal prospects
which seemed to await the noble, fearless spirit
of this daring leader. But he toiled on in the
work of his Master, ushering in those inestimable
blessings attendant on religious liberty,
betraying no symptoms of timidity—manifesting
no disquieting apprehensions.”

Miss Andrews. “Had he no friends to uphold

Mrs. A. “There were multitudes who had
imbibed his views and embraced his doctrines;
he had many friends who clustered arournd him
like shadows, and like them melted away, as the
rising flame of persecution began to dawn—he 13(5)v 158
had many who would have followed him in life
and cleaved to him in death—but they were not
earthly potentates, whose power was a shield,
and whose will was protection. Like himself,
they were single-handed, and to the same unseen
Almighty power must have recourse as
himself. We, in this age of religious liberty,
can hardly conceive the terror with which ecclesiastical
censures were viewed by the majority
of the community. Few dared to brave the
thunders of the church, and set at defiance
Papal power. Luther could reasonably place but
little dependence on the protection of a prince
so prudent and cautious as Frederic—had he
been his disciple from conviction, he might
justly have entertained expectations of assistance
from him at this juncture—in the event,
however, he found the elector a true friend.”

“Here, unexpectedly, the Lord himself warded
off the threatening dangers which hung around
him. The emperor Maximilian died, and Leo
and the Roman court became at once so deeply
absorbed in the interesting movements of the
various candidates for imperial honor, during an
interregnum of nearly six months, as to leave
Luther and his new views to take their own
The vicariat of that part of Germany devolved
to the elector of Saxony during this period,
and Luther was permitted to enjoy great tranquillity
under the friendly shelter of his administration,
while his opinions spread undisturbed 13(6)r 159
and began to take deep root, not in that kingdom
alone, but in neighboring countries.
And now, Harriet, after a longer interruption
than I intended, I will leave you to introduce
us into the august presence of the new and
youthful emperor.”

“Oh! who was he?” inquired two or three
of the younger ones in the same breath. “I
hope he was friendly to Luther; not a Papist.”

“But he was a Papist,” replied Miss Emmons,
“and a stout one.”

Disappointment coldly settled down on the
fair brows of the little girls at this news, but the
effect of the remark was unnoticed by the
speaker, and she went on to say—

“After the death of Maximilian, all Europe,
for several months, was held in suspense, by the
contentions of two rival monarchs, Francis
and Charles Fifth, who both aspired to the
dignities and honors of imperial power. The
contest was at length decided, and Charles, by
the unanimous voice of the electoral college, in
whom the right of choosing an emperor was
vested, was raised to the imperial chair. He
was grandson to Maximilian, by his father’s side,
and his mother was the second daughter of
Ferdinand and Isabella, sovereigns of Spain.”

Alice, eagerly.“The same Ferdinand and
Isabella who rendered assistance to Christopher
when almost discouraged, and enabled
him to pursue his discoveries till he found our
beautiful country?”

13(6)v 160

“The very same,” replied Mrs. Athearn,
—and the youthful faces of the group around
her beamed simultaneously with a smile of satisfaction
at this intelligence, “and an interest in
the young monarch was awakened, in spite of
his Popish views, which nothing of another nature
could have aroused.”

“Well, I am sure I shall like him for his
parents’ sake,”
said little Alice.

“And if he is quite young,” said another
lady, “we need not fear for the progress of the
Reformation, as if he were of mature years, and
deeply initiated in the politic arts of a veteran

“Youth is not necessarily inefficient and undecided,”
replied Mrs. Athearn; “there is many
a young man with an old head.”

“His youth, to my mind, would be the very
thing to excite my fears for the interests of the
added Ellen Athearn, “because
he would depend more on the judgment and
counsel of his aged grandfather’s old counsellors,
who were all staunch Papists—and were he
as inexperienced and yielding as many young
persons are, the Pope and his partisans, if they
chose, might twirl him to their views, as you
could turn a button on a door.”

Miss Emmons. “Charles Fifth was by no
means deficient in strength of character, though
he was young in years. He was unusually keen,
enterprising, and ambitious—was strongly attached
to the religious views of his ancestors, 14(1)r 161
and had long beheld with deep interest and anxiety
the progress of those opinions, so dangerous
to the Papal system. Influenced by a desire to
commence his administration with some measure
which would render him popular among his subjects,
his very first act was to appoint a diet of
the empire to be held at Worms, (see map,) on
the 1521-01-066th of Jan. 1521, to concert the most proper
measures for checking the existing religious

“Surely now,” said one of the girls, “Luther
had reason to fear not only for himself and his
adherents, but for the interests of the cause so
dear to their hearts.”

“Yes,” replied her teacher, “they might well
have trembled, had they sustained that cause
alone; but He who ruleth in the heavens was
sitting at the helm, and they knew it. The
cause they had espoused was dearer far to Him,
than to the feeble instruments he condescended
to use in its promotion, and he was infinite in
ability to protect it. When we look at the dark
side of a moral picture in this view, what have
we to fear? Nothing, if we are found at our
posts, quietly doing our duty. God will take
care of all the rest. Thus felt Martin Luther,
and unmoved, he marched calmly on.—But, Miss
, let us now hear more of the new emperor.”

Harriet. “The coronation of Charles took
place with the utmost pomp and solemnity, at
Aix la Chapelle, in the presence of a more numerous14 14(1)v 162
and splendid assembly than had ever appeared
on a former occasion. About the same
time, Solyman the magnificent, one of the most
accomplished and enterprising of the Turkish
sultans, was raised to the Ottoman throne.
Henry VIII. of England, Francis I. king of
France, and Leo X. the Roman pontiff, were
the several monarchs by whom the young emperor
found himself surrounded on his accession
to the throne. Such a constellation of great
princes, illustrious in power and abilities, had
never adorned any previous age; and no century
is more replete with variety of event, occasioned
by the ambitious exercise of talent and prowess,
than the sixteenth.”

Mrs. A. “Yes; the lover of history finds a
delightful feast for his political taste in its annals;
but the Christian views, with still more interest
and delight, the conquest of truth over error, in
the slow but steady march of the glorious Reformation.”

“Now, Mrs. Athearn,” said Miss Emmons,
“I know far more of the political history of
those times than its religious state—but little,
connectedly, of either; will you allow me to
resign the office of chief speaker?”

Mrs. Athearn smiled assent, and gave her
credit for the correctness with which she had
stated the few facts to which allusion was made.

She then resumed the subject thus:

“Charles’s first act of administration, as has
been said, was to appoint a diet of the empire 14(2)r 163
at Worms, to take measure for the stay of the
prevailing heretical opinions. The deliberations
of the assembly were slow and formal. After
attending to political regulations, the state of
religion was taken into consideration. Now,
had the views and policy of Charles extended no
farther than his Germanic possessions, he might
have been induced to favor a man, who, like Luther,
asserted so boldly the privileges and immunities
for which the empire had struggled so
long with the Popes. But, in order to counteract
the vast and ambitious schemes which
Francis First was designing against him, he
was obliged to regulate his conduct by more extensive
views; it seemed necessary to retain the
friendship of the Pope, and soothe him into a
concurrence in his measures. In order to accomplish
this, he determined on treating Luther
with the utmost severity, as the most effectual
method of securing so important an ally as the
Pope. He was prepared himself to gratify the
Papal legates in Germany, by condemning Luther
without any formal trial or deliberation.
But such an abrupt manner of proceeding was
deemed by the members of the diet as unjustifiable
and unjust, and Luther was therefore summoned
to appear, and declare publicly whether
he adhered or not to those opinions which had
procured him the censures of the church. Luther
manfully and unhesitatingly yielded obedience,
notwithstanding the urgent entreaties and
solicitations of his friends, who, remembering the 14(2)v 164
fate of Huss in like circumstances, entreated
him not to rush wantonly into the midst of such

Alice. “Then he actually went?”

Mrs. A. “Yes; superior to such terrors, he
silenced them with this reply—‘I am lawfully
called to appear in that city, and thither will I
go in the name of the Lord, though as many
devils as there are tiles on the houses were
there combined against me.’”

The young ladies smiled, and the features of
a few, whose youthful character partook of the
same decision and intrepidity, were lighted, even
to a glow, with cordial satisfaction.

“How did they receive him, Mrs. Athearn?”
asked one of the little Misses, impatiently.

Mrs. A. “Just as the celebrity of his name
would lead us to expect. Greater crowds assembled
to behold him, than even the emperor himself,
at his public entry, had commanded. His
rooms were daily filled to overflowing with the
most illustrious visitants. Princes and personages
of the highest rank flocked around him;
by whom he was treated with all the deference
and respect which his unusual character and
literary merit deserved.”

Lucy Dana. “But before the diet, how did
he appear?”

Mrs. A. “Firm as the everlasting hills, but
cool and respectful. He acknowledged that
perhaps an excessive vehemence and acrimony
had characterized his controversial writings; 14(3)r 165
but he refused to retract his opinions, unless
convinced by the Word of God itself, of their
falsity. Threats could not intimidate, nor entreaties
prevail on him to renounce this resolution.
He still remained firm. Some of the
ecclesiastics proposed punishing him, (the
author of this pestilent heresy,) to remove at
once from the church this lamentable evil.”

“But the diet were restrained from this measure
by fear of reproach; and Charles himself
was unwilling to tarnish the commencement of
his administration, by such an ignominious deed
—so Luther was allowed to depart, receiving a
safe-conduct from the emperor, allowing the
term of twenty-one days for his return, with a
solemn prohibition against ‘preaching or haranguing
the people on his road home.’”

The young ladies rejoiced aloud, that he escaped
the snares of his enemies.

“But,” said Mrs. Athearn, “notwithstanding
the imperial interdict, ‘not to preach,’ Luther
hesitated not in the least to comply with the
very first invitation he received to do so; and
finding himself within a short distance of the
residence of his relations, he yielded to his inclination,
and turned from his route to pay them a

“What a fearless man!” said one of the
young ladies, laughing. “I should have felt as
if leaving Sodom; I should neither have dared
to look behind me, or tarry in all the plain, but
have made the most of my twenty-one days, and 14* 14(3)v 166
rested not till safely within my own dominions.”

“He had scarcely turned about,” continued
Mrs. Athearn, “when he was surprised by a
number of horsemen, masked, who suddenly
rushed from the woods upon him, and dismissing
his attendants, carried him to a strong castle,
prepared for his reception, where he was carefully
concealed nine months.”

“Do not be alarmed, Alice,” said Mrs.
, as she saw the alternate blanch and
glow of her cheek, and read how her fears had
construed this last remark.

“It was not an enemy who had done this—
but the elector of Saxony, Luther’s faithful and
prudent protector, who, seeing the gathering
storm of danger threatening his valued friend,
had prepared a quiet and safe place of rendezvous,
where he might retire till the fury of the
tempest had overblown. Here every thing which
could render his situation agreeable was supplied
by the kindness of the elector. Well
was it that he had found such a friend, and such
a place of retreat, for scarcely had he left
Worms, before the young emperor, to keep the
Pope and his party in humor, published an edict,
which would have removed him from all
future labor.”

Here Mrs. Athearn requested on of the older
ladies, to bring her from the library, an old
French royal quarto,—the Histoire du Concile
de Trente,
a French translation of the History 14(4)r 167
of the Council of Trent, from the Italian, by
Father Paul.

It had belonged to her father, whose taste for
antique works had led him to search out and
collect in his various travels, numerous literary
productions of other ages in different languages,
which she now often found of immense value to
her as books of reference.

It was some time before the young lady returned
with the desired volume; when she did,
she made an apology for her absence, by saying
“it was so covered with dust, it was a long time
before she was able to find it.”

Mrs. Athearn looked mildly but seriously at
Alice, to whose charge the care of dusting and
keeping in order the books of the library was
intrusted, and the poor little girl colored to her
eyes. And the smiles she encountered from her
companions around, when she turned from Mrs.
glance to hide her blushes, had no
tendency to put them to flight—for she had said
in apology for some of the grey coats of her
books only the day before,

“That it was of no use to brush up the old
Fathers on the top shelves; they were not like
to be looked at except by old folks,—and if the
books were some rusty, they might look as well
as their readers—all the rubbing in the world
would not make them look bright and new.”

Mrs. Athearn said nothing; it was not necessary.
The little girls all felt that one glance of
their teacher’s dark eye was sufficient to bring 14(4)v 168
them back to the path of duty—“it made them
feel so ashamed when they had been guilty of

Mrs Athearn opened the book and read to
the young ladies in English, an abstract of the
edict issued by the emperor immediately after
Luther’s departure. Its purport was this.

He first stated it to be his duty and determination
to defend and nourish the interests of
religion in his dominions, and to extinguish all
heresies in their earliest stages. He stated that
Martin Luther had attempted to infect Germany
with the contagion of his opinions, and that the
nation was in imminent danger unless immediate
remedies were applied—that the holy Pope Leo,
after having exhorted that monk in a very
fatherly manner, in vain, had been obliged, with
the Sacred College, to condemn his writings
and to declare him a heretic, unless within a
certain prescribed period, he should revoke his
opinions—of which sentence the apostolical
nuncio had given him a copy, entreating him,
(Charles,) as the true protector of the church,
to publish it throughout the empire, and through
the whole extent of his dominions. That, meanwhile,
Martin, instead of amending, or returning
to his duty, was writing, from day to day, Latin
and German books, filled with heresies, some of
which he specified. Not one of his writings,
continued the emperor, but is pestiferous—not
one which contains not mortal poison—not a
word even which is not pure poison.

14(5)r 169

Therefore, wishing to follow the steps of the
Roman emperors, his predecessors, after having
conferred with the electors, the princes, and
the States of the Empire, as also with his private
council, composed of persons selected from all
the nations under his domination—he had, with
their advice and unanimous consent, to remove
all causes of complaint and contest among those
who affirmed that Luther ought to be heard in
his own defence, before proceeding to the execution
of the Pope’s bull—(although perhaps it
was not suitable to hear a man, condemned by
the Pope, obstinate in his wicked opinions and
publicly known as a heretic—) he had, nevertheless,
cited him by one of his heralds—(not for
the purpose of examining and judging matters of
faith that was the Pope’s province—) but to lead
him if possible, into the right way, by weighty
and salutary exhortations. In short, he related
how Luther was introduced into the Assembly—
upon what he had been interrogated—what he
had answered, &c. In conclusion he added,
that on account of the obligations he was under
to God, the duty he owed to the Pope, and the
imperial dignity with which he was clothed, by
the counsel and consent of the electors, of the
States of the Empire, and in execution of the sentence
of the Pope, he declared Martin Luther a
notorious heretic, and commanded that he should
be publicly viewed as such. He forbade all to receive
him, or protect him in any way. He ordered 14(5)v 170
all princes and States of the Empire, under the
accustomed penalties, to seize and imprison
him after the expiration of twenty-one days,
and to pursue all his accomplices, and adherents,
depriving them of all their possessions,
both personal goods and real estate. He forbade
also the reading or retaining any of his
books—ordering princes and magistrates to burn
and abolish them entirely. And inasmuch as in
divers places, abridgments of his works were
made and printed, he absolutely forbade them
hereafter to be printed—commanding the magistrates
to seize and burn them, punishing the
printers and all those who sold, or those who
bought them.

Mrs. Athearn laid the volume which she now
closed on the table beside her, and devoted a few
moments to the inspection of work, before she
resumed the history. Considerable feeling was
evidently awakened among the young ladies, in
behalf of Luther, and several expressed great
fears, not for him and his friends alone, but they
trembled for the interests of the cause in which
they were engaged.

All rejoiced that Luther had been so kindly
secreted from public vengeance by the elector
of Saxony, and evidently longed to learn the
result of the edict.


Chapter X.

After a pause of a few moments, Catharine
remarked, “How depressed Luther must
have become in his solitary confinement! And
what a blow must have been given to the progress
of the Reformation in Germany, by his
unfortunate removal from active labor.”

“Not so,” replied Mrs. Athearn. “The pen
of Luther was not idle during this season of retirement.
He published several treatises in
defence of his doctrines, and in confutation of
his opponents, which served greatly to revive and
strengthen the spirit of his followers, who were
at first quite disheartened and dismayed at his
disappearance. Among these publications was
a treatise on the abuse of private confessions;
another on the marriage of the clergy, one on
monastic vows, and several controversial documents
superior in strength of argument, though
perhaps too highly tinctured with the warmth 14(6)v 172
and irritability which were natural characteristics
of the reformer.”

“He also translated the New Testament, and
improved his time in acquiring a more thorough
knowledge of the Greek and Hebrew languages.
He commenced a version of the Old Testament,
which, with the assistance of some of his learned
friends, he afterwards completed; a work that
tended more to overturn the vast fabric of Papal
tyranny, than the whole of his other writings
together. On the whole, therefore, his removal
from public observation and effort, proved rather
an advantage than a hindrance to the progress
of the cause. Public sympathy was enlisted for
him, and greatly favored the diffusion of his
tenets. His opinions gained ground daily. Indeed,
the rapidity with which they spread was
so unaccountable, that some imputed it to a certain
uncommon and malignant position of the
stars, which scattered the spirit of giddiness and
innovation over the world.”

Miss Ellis. “Did not Luther’s publications
betray the place of his retreat?”

Mrs. A. “No; in them all, he was so guarded
as not to expose himself. Not from personal
fear, but from a regard to the feelings of his protector
and friends, he acquiesced in every precautionary
measure which they thought necessary
for his security. The castle of Wartburg,
the place of his confinement, or his Patmos, as
he was pleased to call it, was situated delightfully
on one of the highest mountains near 15(1)r 173
Issenach. It was a famous hunting quarter, frequently
visited by large numbers of the gentry
and nobility; and sometimes Luther, to avoid
suspicion and observation, was induced to assume
a horseman’s garb, and mingle in the party
sports of the field; but he always contrived,
little as his thoughts were engaged in the scenes
before him, so to keep up appearances, that
none of the visitors ever recognized him.”

Miss Andrews. “Was no search made for
him, Mrs. Athearn? Did the excitement of
feeling against Luther so soon and so suddenly
subside, that no endeavor was made to ascertain
his place of concealment?”

Mrs. A. “There was no abatement of indignation
in the members of the Romish church
toward him; but various events occurred which
prevented the fulfilment of the edict which the
diet decreed. The subjects of the new emperor
rebelled in various parts of his dominions; dangers
too were continually threatening from the
ambitious and artful policy of Francis First, and
however the feelings of Charles might have led
him to proceed against Luther in different circumstances,
it was no wonder that amid events
of such momentous personal concern as involved
the fate of his empire, the individual religious
opinions and interests of a man like Luther, or
their influence on his subjects should be comparatively
overlooked. The affairs of Spain required
the emperor’s presence there; and leaving
the management of religious as well as civil 15 15(1)v 174
concerns to the regency he had appointed, he
left Germany for a time.”

“In the midst of the confusion and threatening
dangers which filled Europe at this time, the
Pope himself died suddenly; some say by poison,
and others, that a rapid succession of prosperous
events, which added several cities and forts to
the ecclesiastical state, occasioned such transports
of joy as brought on a fever that terminated
fatally. His death, at a juncture
like this, afforded a subject of sufficient
interest to absorb wholly for a time the
attention and feelings of the whole ecclesiastical
court; so Luther, in his beautiful castle, for a
short period ceased to be the magnet of universal
attraction, and the discovery of his retreat
was not an object of great solicitude.”

“How long did Luther remain an exile from
public notice?”
inquired Miss Ellis.

Mrs. A. “About nine months; he became at
length impatient of the confinement, and distressed
at the information he received of the
inconsiderate zeal of Carlostadius and others of
his followers, who encouraged the multitude in
acts of violence on the altars and images in the
churches, and had excited great tumults in
Saxony. His brethren, the Augustinians too,
with the approbation of the University and the
connivance of the elector of Saxony, had ventured
to abolish the celebration of private masses,
and to give the cup as well as the bread to the
laity, in administering the sacrament of the
Lord’s Supper.”

15(2)r 175

One of the little girls opened her dictionary
to find the meaning of the word “laity”; it was
the people, as distinguished from the clergy

“The civil authorities,” continued Mrs.
, “to whom Charles had intrusted the
government of Germany, during his absence in
Spain, manifested their hostility to the Reformation
by an edict, commanding the several princes
to punish all persons who were ‘profaners of the
sacrament by partaking of the wine as well as
of the bread;’
also, those of the clergy, who
‘ventured to depart from a state of celibacy.’”

“They therefore proceeded to imprison such
of the monks as preached Luther’s doctrine, and
to recall from the universities those students
who were suspected of partiality for his sentiments.
George, duke of Saxony, the inveterate
enemy of Luther, was unwearied in his opposition
and his measures to check the progress of
this new heresy. He proceeded to buy up the
copies of his translation of the New Testament,
and to inflict punishment on those of his subjects,
who ventured to retain them. He instigated
the bishop of Mersburg to visit the university
of Leipsic, to interdict the use of this translation
there, and to prohibit the students from
repairing to the neighboring territory to hear
religious discourses. But these measures produced
results exactly contrary to their intention.
The university of Leipsic was in consequence
deserted, and the youth, impatient of such restraint, 15(2)v 176
resorted in great numbers to that of Wittemberg.
The monks in the Augustinian monastery
at Antwerp, who had been instrumental in the
diffusion of Luther’s doctrine were also molested;
they were forced to recant, and those who
refused to do so, were put to death. Thus the
spirit of persecution began to show itself.
Notwithstanding, however, the hostile disposition
manifested in these measures, Luther
hesitated not to pass through the duke’s dominions,
in his way to a distant place; he even
ventured to preach, and selected for his topics
of discourse those points on which his views,
though according with Scripture, were most discordant
with the Romish faith.”

“Were the people as venturesome as their
inquired one of the young ladies.
“Had he any hearers?”

“Yes,” replied Mrs. Athearn, “the fame of
the man was there before him, and fourteen
thousand people, it is said, assembled to hear
him. He was heard with the greatest attention,
and vast numbers, convinced he had truth on
his side, became warmly enlisted in the cause of
the Reformation.”

“The circumstances to which I just now
alluded, in connection with others,”
Mrs. Athearn, “induced Luther to withdraw
from his retreat without the consent or knowledge
of the elector. He repaired immediately 15(3)r 177
to Wittemberg; his presence was joyfully hailed
and order was speedily restored.”

“Two events had occurred during Luther’s
confinement which considerably damped the
joy occasioned by the progress of his opinions in
his own country. One was, the decree of
the university of Paris, at that time the most
literary society in Europe, which condemned
his opinions. The other was, the publication of
Henry Eighth’s Treatise on the Seven Sacraments,
written in answer to Luther’s book, concerning
the Babylonish captivity. However,
neither the authority of the university, nor the
dignity of the monarch overawed him—he soon
published his animadversions on both, in a style
no less vehement and severe than he would have
used in confuting his meanest antagonist. The
eye of universal attention was now directed to a
controversy, conducted by disputants so illustrious;
and so contagious was the spirit of innovation
which the revival of learning in this age
had roused throughout Europe, and so weighty
was the evidence accompanying the doctrines of
the Reformers, even on their first publication,
that in spite of civil and ecclesiastical power
united, they daily gained converts both in France
and England.”

Miss Andrews. “You used the word ‘Reformers’
in the course of your last remark, and I did
not understand it; to whom especially did you
refer besides Luther?”

Mrs. A. “To Zuinglius, Calvin, Knox, and a 15* 15(3)v 178
multitude of others, in the neighboring countries,
who, roused to effort by the shameful traffic
in indulgences, commenced in other dominions
at the same time as in Germany, and encouraged
by Luther’s zeal and boldness, ventured to re-
echo the deep-sounding trumpet of alarm to
which he gave the first blast, and amid opposition
and persecution were carrying on with their
might the good work of reform, which the Lord
in his own chosen time had commenced.”

“And now,” said Mrs. Athearn, “if we turn
our eyes to the Romish court, we shall find it
filled with competition, artifice and intrugue.
Many candidates for the vacated chair were
nominated by the several interested parties; but
it was at length filled by Adrian Sixth, who had
once held the office of tutor to the young emperor,
through whose instrumentality at present
advancement was accomplished. He was a person
materially different in character from the
late Pope. He seems to have been a well-meaning,
honest man, possessing these qualities in
too great a degree to be qualified for so important
a station in the court of Rome, at a juncture
so delicate and critical; he was ill-fitted
for the intrigues and duplicity of his office, and
his election gave much offence.”

“Adrian decidedly condemned the doctrines of
the Reformation; he affirmed they were insipid,
extravagant, and unreasonable—that surely no
person could believe them except ignoramuses,
or fools—and that those who defended them, 15(4)r 179
must know, in their conscience, that the opinions
of the Romish church were the best. He
had passed his youth in the study of scholastic
theology; he found its opinions so clear to his
own mind, he could scarcely believe any reasonable
man could hold contrary ones—those advanced
by Luther he had never seriously examined.
His first step after his advancement to the
Papal chair, was to despatch his nuncio, Cheregato,
to the diet of the empire at Nuremburg.
He there made an address of great length, in
which he condemned Luther’s opinions with
much severity, and reproached the princes for
their remissness in the execution of the edict of
Worms. He spoke of Luther as a gangrened,
incurable member, and urged them to prompt
measures for his punishment, and that of the
heretics, his followers; alleging as precedents
those measures pursued by divine authority in
the punishment of Dathan and Abiram—of
Ananias and Sapphira—and also, the just and
proper procedure of their ancestors toward John
Huss and Jerome of Prague.
According to the Pope’s instructions, also,
the nuncio acknowledged candidly, in explicit
terms, the existence of corruptions and abuses
in the Roman court, which should be removed,
or reformed, with all the despatch which their
nature and inveteracy would allow.
He closed with a solicitation of advice and
counsel, in regard to the most efficient measures 15(4)v 180
to suppress the spread of the growing heresy
which threatened the destruction of their most
holy religion, and the dissolution of all those
bands which unite civil society.”

One of the young ladies inquired how this
address was received by both parties.

Mrs. Athearn replied, “that the Pope’s concessions,
in regard to the existing abuses and
evils of the Romish church, were heard with
much displeasure by the Catholic party; and
his counsel, as to procedure against Luther and
his adherents, was as far from being relished by
those who favored the Reformation.”

“In reply to the nuncio, the diet stated the
vast increase of Luther’s followers, and the
growing disaffection of the people to the court of
Rome on account of its exactions and corruptions;
and alleged the apprehension of a civil
war, as the reason of their neglect to execute
the sentence of Leo Tenth, and the edict of
Charles Fifth.
As to the advice which the Pope solicited,
they replied, ‘that to proceed not only with
reference to Luther, but to extirpate the many
errors and vices, deeply rooted by custom and
time, and sustained by the ignorance of some,
and the malice of others, they saw no remedy
more suitable or efficacious, than the convocation
of a general council, as soon as possible,
with the consent of the emperor, in some commodious
place in Germany; in which laymen,
as well as ecclesiastics, might with freedom 15(5)r 181
consult, and deliberate upon what would be for
the glory of God and the good of souls.’
In the
reply which the nuncio made to this suggestion,
he said this proposition would not be displeasing
to his highness, the Pope, if it were made in
more civil and respectful terms. He advised
the diet to amend every expression in it which
might excite the Pope’s displeasure; for instance,
such as ‘to convoke a council with the
consent of his majesty the emperor’
—and ‘to hold
the council in a city of Germany’
, by which it
might seem that they wished to tie his highness’
Concerning various points on which the Pope
had given instructions for the observance of the
diet, he ordered, that no person should in future
preach any doctrine which had not been examined
by the bishop; that all printers of the heretical
books in circulation, should be punished
according to the late sentence—and that all the
books should be burned.
In short, the nuncio demanded the immediate
adoption of severe measures against the
Lutheran heresy, and used his utmost address to
induce them to relinquish their proposal of a
general council.
Those who favored the Reformation were
not slow to perceive, that the interests of the
Roman court were an object of greater solicitude
with the Pope’s nuncio, than the tranquility of
the empire, or the purity of the church; and
they remained inflexible on this point. They 15(5)v 182
drew up a list of grievances, a hundred in number,
which they imputed to the unjust usurpation
of the Papal see. These, as the nuncio
had abruptly departed when he saw the memorial
in preparation, that he might not be the
bearer of a remonstrance so disagreeable, were
sent to the Pope, with a protest, that the people
neither would nor could endure such oppressions
and abuses any longer; and unless immediate
and effective attention was paid to them,
they should be compelled, though reluctantly, to
take the work of reform into their own hands.”

Miss Andrews. “I should like well to see a
list of the hundred grievances.”

“It would be tedious to give them in detail,”
replied Mrs. Athearn. “It contained a full
exposition of the oppressions suffered from the
tyranny and rapacity of the priesthood in the
taxes for dispensations, absolutions, indulgences
—for carrying law-suits by appeal to Rome
for the consecration of churches and cemetaries,

“They complained of the exemption of the
clergy from civil jurisdiction—and the arts practised
by them to bring all secular causes under
the cognizance of ecclesiastical judges—of
unjust excommunications—of the profligate
lives of the clergy, and of many other particulars;
embracing those corruptions in the doctrines
and conduct of the members of the
church, which I have mentioned to you as 15(6)r 183
among the circumstances, contributing to the
favorable reception of Luther’s doctrines.
Instead of any severe procedure against the
Reformers, as the nuncio had recommended,
the diet only passed a decree containing an injunction
to all, to wait patiently for the determinations
of the general council which they had
demanded, and meanwhile to publish no new
opinions contrary to those held by the established
church. All preachers were required to abstain
from preaching on controverted topics, and
to confine themselves to the plain, simple truths
of religion.
The result of this diet produced great emotion
in the Roman court. Adrian’s honesty
in the acknowledgment of existing disorders,
which they would fain have concealed, brought
on him the reproach of childish simplicity and
imprudence. He was charged with forgetting
his own dignity in asking advice of those to
whom he was entitled to prescribe; and thereby
encouraging a presumptuous spirit in the enemies
of the church, which would be quelled
with difficulty, and might do vast injury to Papal
power. Great presumption, in their opinion
they had already manifested, in the propostion
of a council.
Adrian was amazed at the obstinacy of one
party, and disgusted with the art and political
management of the other; he lamented his present
advancement, and looked back with regret
upon the humble, unobtrusive labors of his former 15(6)v 184
obscurity. But his career was short; he
died 1523-09-14Sept. 14, 1523, about six months after the
diet at Nuremberg.”

“Who succeeded him?” asked Alice.

Mrs. Athearn. “Clement Seventh, cousin-
german of Leo Tenth, a profound politician.
He adopted a very different course of procedure
from his predecessor; he resolved to acknowledge
no error in the church, and never to acquiesce
in a general council.”

“I do not see,” said one of the young ladies,
“why so great opposition should have been
manifested by the Pope to a general council. I
can imagine no way so appropriate for the adjustment
of matters.”

Mrs. Athearn. “True, it would seem so; but
he knew too well the death-blow, which a strict
examination of the Papal system would inflict on
its power; he dared not also subject his own
election to the Papal chair, which had been
obtained by great management, to the scrutiny
of such an assembly. He selected cardinal
Campeggio, a very artful man, as his nuncio to
the diet of the empire again assembled at Nuremberg.”

“Campeggio, without noticing the transactions
of the preceding diet, exhorted them to an immediate
and vigorous execution of the edict of
Worms, representing this measure as absolutely
indispensable to the peace of the church, and as
the only effectual means of suppressing this desolating
heresy. The diet, in return, demanded 16(1)r 185
the Pope’s intention relative to a council, and
in regard to the redress of their grievances.
The nuncio endeavoured to elude any definite
answer to the former inquiry; he made, however,
many general declarations of the Pope’s
resolution to pursue those measures which would
insure the greatest good of the church. As to
the latter, he stated, as Adrian’s decease occurred
before the catalogue alluded to had reached
Rome, it had not, consequently, been laid before
the present Pope; he therefore declined making
any decisive answer, in the Pope’s name.
His embassy produced very little effect on the
decisions of the diet; no additional severity
against Luther and his party was enjoined, and
the demand for a free council was warmly renewed.
The spirit of liberty which the new system
diffused, induced many monks about this time
to withdraw from the unnatural state of seclusion
and inactive life, which they had adopted.
Several nuns also effected their escape from
two or three neighboring convents, among whom
was Catharine de Bora, who afterwards became
the wife of Luther.
A spirit of controversy was roused and indulged
with much warmth, both on the part of
the Reformer and his opponents. Persecution,
too, slaked her thirst for the moment in the
blood of two Augustinian monks, and Papal
power began in very deed to show a strong determination
to quench the growing heresy, even 16 16(1)v 186
though by the cruel punishment of the stake.
All Germany seemed in commotion; diets were
held year after year, and closed with little else
than warm expressions of strong desire for the
assembling of the long-proposed council. But
this the Pope uniformly evaded and opposed,
although its necessity daily increased. The
emperor too, became anxious that the religious
differences, which had so long agitated Germany,
might be adjusted; but he could obtain
nothing from the pontiff but a promise to employ
all the machinery of spiritual terror, if he,
on his part, would unsheath the sword and destroy
the unreclaimed.
So inflamed at length did Clement become at
the spread of the Reformation, that he entered
into treaties with the Spanish and French kings,
‘to take up arms against the disturbers of the
Roman Catholic faith, and against all who should
dare to revile the sovereign pontiff.’
Such was the state of things, when a diet of
the empire was held at Spires, in 15261526”

“I hope,” said Miss Arnold, “that all difficulties
were then settled.”

Mrs. A. “No, far from it; the result was
such as to occasion an open rupture between
the emperor and the Pope, though the war was
of short continuance.”

“A war!” exclaimed two or three young
ladies at once. “I thought they were both
equally opposed to the Reformation, and united
in their opposition.”

16(2)r 187

Mrs. A. “True, they were; but circumstances,
which the emperor could not control,
effected a decision of the diet so favorable to
the Lutheran cause, as to provoke the pontiff to
measures which ended in a quarrel between

Miss Andrews. “What were the consequences?”

Mrs. A. “Very favorable to the Reformation.
Not only individuals, but whole provinces abjured
their subjection to the court of Rome; they
established the reformed worship in their territories,
and suppressed entirely the rites of the
Romish church. In a short time, nearly one
half of the Germanic body had revolted from
the Papal see. Charles was alarmed; political
motives, as well as strong attachment to the
established religion, influenced a determination
to employ his utmost zeal to suppress these new
opinions. He therefore appointed another diet
at Spires to take into consideration the state of
religion. Strong hopes were now entertained
by the Roman Catholics, that something effectual
would be done to extinguish the spreading
heresy. Luther too, and his adherents, looked
forward to this meeting with great interest and
strong hopes.”

“The diet at length assembled on the 1529-03-15fifteenth
of March, 1529
. For twelve years this controversy
had been carried on; the minds of men
had become inflamed to a high degree; the
number of adherents to the new system had 16(2)v 188
greatly increased, and many were of high rank.
It was soon perceived that any violent measures
at this time would have brought fearful consequences.
Prudence forbade any other present
step than a strict injunction to those states of the
empire, which had already obeyed the decree
issued against Luther, at Worms, in the year
15241524, to persevere in its observation; and to
prohibit the other states from attempting any
other innovations in religion, particularly from
abolishing the mass, before the meeting of a
general council. This decree occasioned much
dispute; but it was at length approved by a majority
of voices.
The elector of Saxony, and several other
princes, together with the deputies of fourteen
free cities, entered a solemn protest against this
decree, as both unjust and impious. In consequence,
they received the name of Protestants.”

“Was this the origin of that title?” inquired
one of the young ladies.

Mrs. Athearn replied in the affirmative, and
went on to say, “These princes were by no means
satisfied with this declaration of their dissent
from the decree of the diet alone; they therefore
sent ambassadors to the emperor to lay
before him their grievances. Charles received
the deputies in a very formal, unconciliating
manner; and immediately ordered their imprisonment.”

“This was a sufficient expression of his
hostile intentions to all who adhered to their 16(3)r 189
cause, and they immediately began to concert
measures for their safety.
Charles meanwhile began to look with an
anxious eye upon the fast rising obstacles to the
easy suppression of the new religion, now embraced
by more than half of his Germanic subjects,
and spreading with almost equal rapidity
in neighboring countries. The opportunities he
had of ascertaining the general state of feeling
on all the controversial points, as he returned
from Spain to Germany, convinced him that
rigorous measures were little calculated to accomplish
it; that in the present state of things
they would only irritate to madness.
He studiously sought to attach the Pope to
him—consulted him—and though their views
differed in the method of procedure against the
Protestants, they both seemed agreed in the
inexpediency of a general council, and united
in their determination to oppose it. He proposed
one more experiment of gentle measures
in the coming diet, promising Clement if these
failed, ‘he would take up arms against such
stubborn enemies of the Catholic faith.’”

Alice. “Where was the next diet held?”

“At Augsburg,” replied Mrs. Athearn, “and
thither he repaired on the 1530-06-2020th of June, 1530.
He entered the city with great pomp, and found
a full assembly. The Protestants carefully prevented
or removed every thing, which might on
their part increase the dissensions.”

“Luther, as a person excommunicated by the 16*16(3)v190
Pope, was not allowed to offend the emperor by
his presence. All public preaching was restrained.
Their confession of faith was drawn up,
and presented with great address by the gentle
and pacific Melancthon, who was chosen to this
office, as a man of great talent, and the least
offensive to the Catholic party. The terms of
its expression were carefully chosen, and as far
removed from any thing calculated to irritate, as
a regard for truth would admit. But all to no
purpose. The breach was too wide to be healed.
Truth and error could not go hand in
hand; and desirous as the Protestant princes
were of peace, Charles found them as unwilling
as ever to renounce their religion. He endeavored
by political motives to bribe their favor,
but in vain. He strove by various schemes to
disunite their party, but they were fruitless;
and, seeing no hope of bringing about a coalition
between them, he renounced the attempt in

“And what took place then, Mrs. Athearn,”
asked Alice.

Mrs. A. “Why, he determined to compel
them to submit to the established church by
force. The issue of the diet was, therefore, a
decree condemning nearly all the Protestant
doctrines, forbidding any person to protect or
tolerate those who avowed them, and enjoining
strict conformity to the Romish church in every

16(4)r 191

Miss Allen. “How severe!”

Mrs. A. “Yes; the feeble spirit of Melancthon
fainted, as he took a prospective glance
at the calamities which he foresaw awaited the
church; he sat down in melancholy, and gave
himself up to lamentation.”

Alice. “But Luther, Mrs. Athearn, what did
he do?”

Mrs. A. “He comforted Melancthon, and
consoled, confirmed, and animated all those,
who like him, in despondency, followed his example;
he exhorted the princes to be stedfast—
not to abandon those truths which they had just
now so boldly asserted, but to remain firm even
unto the end. He was not himself the least
disconcerted or dismayed; and although with the
emperor’s approbation, a combination was formed
among the Popish princes for the maintenance
of the established religion, he manifested no
symptoms of alarm.”

“Luther’s example and his exhortations were not
without weight among his followers. When the
first impulse of apprehension had subsided
among them, and they realized the importance
and necessity of firm union among themselves to
ensure the success of their cause and their own
personal safety, they began to take such precautionary
measures as their circumstances demanded.
They assembled at Smalkalde, and there
they formed themselves into a league, solemnly
binding themselves to defend the Protestant 16(4)v 192
religion, even at the expense of their lives; they
also resolved to seek foreign assistance.”

Ellen Athearn. “Their confederacy was only
defensive, I conclude, mother.”

Mrs. A. “That was all; they disclaimed all
intention of attacking the Catholic party; it
was a league of mutual defence against all
aggressors. When prosecutions were commenced
against some of their number, on account of
their religious principles, as was soon the case,
they despatched ambassadors both to France
and England, imploring their assistance in the
new confederacy; it was granted.”

“But Henry Eighth was strongly enlisted on
the Roman Catholic side, was he not? One
of the Popes, I remember, for the ability with
which he defended the Catholic church, honored
him with the title of ‘Defender of the Faith,’”

said one young lady.

Mrs. A. “Yes, he was; nevertheless, as the
present Pope had now a long time delayed, and
even openly opposed the grant of a bill of divorce
from his queen, that he might marry Ann Boleyn,
one of her maids of honor, he was inclined
to retaliate by strengthening a league against
the pontiff, which might become so formidable as
greatly to harrass him.”

“At this juncture, Solyman, the Turkish sultan,
invaded Germany; and the emperor was again
diverted from the execution of his plans to extirpate
the new religion. He soon found it necessary,
not only to delay farther interference with 16(5)r 193
the Protestants at present, but to conciliate them,
in order to gain their assistance in repelling this
formidable invasion. Negotiations were therefore
held, and a treaty of peace at length concluded,
whose purport was
this,—that universal peace
should be established throughout Germany, till
the convocation of the long-desired council actually
took place; that no person meanwhile
should be molested on account of his religious
opinions; that all processes commenced against
any should be checked, and all sentences actually
passed to their detriment should be declared
null. To this, the emperor subjoined a promise,
that he would employ all his influence with the
Pope to procure a general council within six
In consequence of these stipulations on his
part, the Protestants promised the assistance of
their forces in resisting the invasion of the

“I hope,” said one young lady, “that this
famous council now draws nigh; I am very
anxious to learn its results.”

Mrs. A. “Your patience must still hold out
fourteen years longer; for so much longer,
through various pretexts, was this important
event delayed.”

Miss Andrews. “What were both parties doing
meanwhile? When so strong a desire for a
general council universally prevailed, what reasons
of sufficient magnitude could be invented 16(5)v 194
to render the people quiet and acquiescent in so
long a delay?”

Mrs. A. “The delay was caused by political
intrigue on the part of the Pope. The emperor,
true to his engagement with the Protestants,
sought from the Pope the early appointment
of such an assembly; representing that as
the only authority to which they would submit,
and the only measure which could, in the present
state of things, terminate their difficulties.
The Pope was exceedingly displeased with
Charles’ proceedings in regard to calling a
council, and he strove to divert him from this
purpose; when he found this vain, he reluctantly
consented, but he employed every artifice to
delay, hoping, by still farther manœuvres, eventually
to defeat it.”

“The pontiff insisted that the council should
meet in Italy—the Protestants demanded a
council in Germany; they insisted that all their
disputes should be settled by a reference to
Scripture—the Pope, that the decrees of the
church and the opinions of the fathers should
decide the matter. The Protestants demanded
a free council, in which the divines, delegated
by different churches, should have a voice; the
Pope was bent on a council, so modelled by
himself, that all its decisions should be dependent
on his pleasure.
The Protestants declared they would not bind
themselves to submit to any council, before they
knew on what principle its decrees were to be 16(6)r 195
founded—by whom they would be pronounced
—and what forms of procedure would be observed;
the Pope affirmed that a council was
altogether unnecessary, unless those who demanded
it would bind themselves to acquiesce
in its decrees, whatever they should be.
Such were the points of dispute started, by
which the Pope artfully delayed the council,
without drawing upon himself the whole blame
of retarding it. Matters were in this state when
the Papal chair again became vacated by the
death of Clement.
His successor, Paul Third, fully aware of the
censure Clement had incurred by his obstinacy
in regard to assembling a council, affected a willingness
that such a meeting should take place;
but he was anxious it should be in a city under
his own influence. He was secretly averse to
such a measure, as much so perhaps as any of
his predecessors, but he flattered himself, that
his seeming readiness to meet the general demand
would ward from him any reproach, in
case the difficulties he foresaw would
arise as to the time and place of meeting,
and all the various particulars concerning its
regulation, should finally preclude its taking
place. He despatched nuncios to the several
courts, declaring his intention to call a general
assembly, and appointed Mantua as the place of
As he hoped, the Protestants opposed this;
they protested against meeting in a place so 16(6)v 196
entirely under Papal influence, and renewed
their original demand, that it should be convened
in Germany. A series of negotiations and
intrigues followed; the Pope seemed eager to
assemble a council, and yet, under existing circumstances,
put off its meetings at his pleasure.
To soothe the Germans, at length Charles summoned
several successive diets, in which disputants
on both sides appeared, and strenuous
efforts were made to reconcile the contending
parties, but in vain. The decrees of these diets,
although they produced no results very favorable
to the Protestant cause, greatly offended the
Pope and excited his jealousy toward the emperor
—he felt that his assuming the power of
appointing divines to examine and determine
matters of controversy, was a very undutiful and
dangerous invasion of his rights.
But nothing could exceed his grief and anger
at the conduct of the emperor in the diet at
Spires, 15441544.”

“What were his measures there?” inquired
one young lady.

Mrs. A. “He ventured to grant the Protestants
many civil privileges, from which, for
heresy, the Pope had deprived them; he also
suspended the penal statutes till a national council
was held. For such offences as granting
‘equality of rights to heretics,’ and daring ‘to
legislate in religious matters without the concurrence
of the head of the church,’
the emperor 17(1)r 197
received a very long and indignant epistle
from his holiness.”

“He complained that ‘laymen, and above all
heretics, had been permitted to meddle with
spiritual things’
—that ‘in referring their disputes
and grievances to a council, they had not
even mentioned the successor of St. Peter, to
whom alone the right of convoking such an
assembly belonged.’
‘His sins resembled those
of Uzzah, Dathan, Abiram, Korah, and Uzziah.’

‘He had endangered the peace and unity of the
church, and exposed his own soul’s salvation to
imminent peril’
‘and the judgments of God
would fall upon him unless he revoked the decree.’”

Miss Andrews. “But why was the emperor so
inclined, at this present time, to favor the Protestants,
if his views and feelings were enlisted
on the side of the Roman Catholics.”

Mrs. A. “He needed their assistance in prosecuting
his extensive wars, and he was, therefore,
willing to court their favor by any compliances
likely to obtain it. No sooner, however,
was peace established in his dominions, than he
resolved to deprive them of the religious liberties
he had granted, and again seek the favor of
the Pope by his decided countenance and support
in their persecution.”

Alice, in all her artlessness, expressed astonishment,
mingled with horror and indignation,
at the practice of such deception and art, as the
wordly policy of the emperor led him to indulge.

17 17(1)v 198

“The Pope,” said Mrs. Athearn, “to avoid
ridicule and contempt, as no notice had been taken
of his late appointment of a council to meet
within his own territories, felt himself obliged to
appoint another. He therefore issued another
bull, summoning the princes and prelates of
Europe, to meet at Trent, 1545-03-15March 15, 1545.”

“And here we will rest,” continued the lady,
“for we have already protracted our conversation
to a later hour than usual.”


Chapter XI.

The conversation commenced on the succeeding
evening, by an inquiry from one of the
younger misses, where Trent was situated.

Mrs. Athearn referred the little girl to her
map, saying, “you will find it, Charlotte, on the
confines of Germany and Italy. It is now in
the state of Venice, and subject to Austria, but
at the time of which we speak, it belonged to
the dominions of the king of the Romans, of
whom it was held by the cardinal of Trent. It
was not within the Papal territories, but was so
much under Papal influence, that the Pope flattered
himself it would be easy to ensure the
entire management of the council’s proceedings.”

“I believe its distance from Rome is about
250 miles.
This was the place destined to be the scene
of those important decisions, so long desired, 17(2)v 200
and so momentous in their consequence to both
parties concerned.
Kings, princes, and great men, eminent both
for learning and piety—the kings of Great Britain,
Sweden, and Denmark, with others, were
now to be found in the ranks of the despised
monk, Martin Luther, who first stood forth
alone and unsupported, and commenced that
memorable attack on the ‘Man of Sin,’ which
was destined to shake his empire even to its
foundation. He had roused all Christendom;
the majority longed to shake off their fetters,
to see Scripture clothed with the honor due to
its original, and those superstitions and mummeries,
by which they had been deluded, swept
away forever.”

“But,” said one young lady, “I do not suppose
all the kings and princes, to whom you
have alluded, were real Christians, and sought
the glory of God alone. What could be their
motive in so earnestly desiring a thorough reform
of abuses?”

Mrs. A. “Their own interest was greatly concerned
in the favorable issue of the assembly;
the exorbitant taxes and immunities, monopolized
by the ecclesiastical community, had robbed
them of power and of pecuniary resources;
and had likewise caused great distress and
complaint among their subjects. They therefore
most earnestly wished a very different state
of things.”

“The bishops, too, were interested in the contemplated 17(3)r 201
decisions of this great assembly; they
were jealous of the encroaching power and
influence of the monastic orders, and they
hoped now to recover their rights and privileges.
As for the Pope, all his schemes centred in
the aggrandizement of the holy see. He intended
to make no concessions, and to permit
no changes, which would not further this design;
this was soon discovered by the Protestant
party, and they determined not to acknowledge
a council called with such intentions, and
prosecuted with such feelings.
Three legates, the cardinals De Monte, Santa
, and Pole, were chosen to preside in the
council in the name of the Pope. They repaired
to the place appointed, where only about twenty
prelates, one after another, assembled. They
spend the whole summer in negotiations, but
nothing of importance was adjusted; nothing,
in fact, was accomplished, and another session
was appointed to be held the coming December.
The diet, this year, assembled at Worms. Warm
discussions passed.
The Protestants earnestly hoped from this
assembly to obtain such a confirmation of their
religious rights, that they could enjoy them in
greater security than they had hitherto done;
but the only reply they could obtain to their
earnest solicitations was, that as the Pope had
at length been persuaded to appoint a council, 17* 17(3)v 202
they must wait for its decrees, and abide by its
But they remonstrated warmly against the
council—it was called to meet without the
bounds of the empire; the Pope had assumed
the right of presiding, by appointing three
legates as judges; he had called it also by his
own authority, independent of the emperor, and
they pronounced it illegal, and affirmed they
held the decree of the late diet to be still in full
force. They moreover openly declared, ‘that
they would not deign to vindicate their religion
in presence of a council, assembled not to examine,
but to condemn them; and that they
would pay no regard to an assembly held under
the influence of a Pope, who had already precluded
himself from all title to act as a judge, by
his having stigmatized their opinions with the
name of heresy, and denounced against them
the heaviest censures, which, in the plenitude of
his usurped power, he could inflict.’
They remained inflexible, and thus the assembly
dissolved. Charles, however, to gain time
to ripen the schemes he had in view, artfully
strove to amuse and hold the Protestant party in
suspense, by appointing another diet to be held
at Ratisbon, the following year, to adjust what
was now left undetermined.”

Miss Arnold. “What were those schemes?”

Mrs. A. “Their object was to humble and
subdue the Protestant states.”

17(4)r 203

“By military force do you mean, Mrs.
inquired one young lady.

Mrs. A. “Yes; in conjunction with the Pope,
they were now making vast preparations for this

Miss Arnold. “But did not the reformed party
suspect his intentions, and prepare accordingly?”

Mrs. A. “Not at first; apparently his forces
were levied for other purposes—war threatened
from neighboring monarchs, and deception in
the object of his preparations was easy. But
they were soon undeceived; Charles betrayed
his intentions by rigorous measures toward the
archbishop of Cologne, who had renounced the
Popish faith—by enjoining severity against all
who should revolt from the established church—
by persecuting all, suspected of Lutheranism in
the low countries, and silencing all Protestant

“The reformed party were alarmed at these
movements; they could not but foretell scenes
of war and desolation. The landgrave of Hesse,
who had warmly embraced the new system of
faith, held an interview with Charles, in which
he denied having entered into any league, or
having made any military preparations to alarm
them. The landgrave was satisfied, and the
Protestants for a short space, quieted with this
Sessions of the council were held on the 1545-12-13thirteenth
of December, 1545
, the 1545-01-077th of January, 17(4)v 204
and the 1545-02-044th of February, with great
pomp and much religious solemnity.
The time was entirely occupied with matters of
form; in the fourth session, Scripture and tradition
were taken into consideration. The rejection
of tradition by the reformers was at once
condemned, and the result of the session was a
decree of this import—that the books, designated
Apocryphal, were of equal authority with the
Scriptures of the Old and New Testament; and
that the tradition, which had been handed down
by the fathers and preserved in the church, were
‘entitled to as much regard as the doctrines and
precepts which the inspired authors have committed
to writing.’
All who refused submission to this decree,
were doomed, in the name of the Holy Ghost, to
the punishment of obstinate heretics. The Pope,
at this time issued a bull against the archbishop
of Cologne, of whom I was just now speaking,
accusing him of heresy, and depriving him of
his ecclesiastical dignity.”

Miss Andrews. “I am sure the protestant party
from this decree might draw ample and unequivocal
assurance of the hostile intentions of this
detestable council. Had the protestants yet
recognized it as a legal assembly, and thus
bound themselves to submit to its infamous decrees?”

“No,” replied Mrs. Athearn; “they still expressed
their willingness to abide by the decisions
of a free council, composed of learned and pious 17(5)r 205
men—but they stedfastly refused to acknowledge
the authority of one such as this. They objected
to the Pope’s presiding, as he was a
party concerned; they objected to the judges
the prelates, who were ignorant and wicked
men; they objected to the rules of judgment,
demanding the word of God alone; they objected
to the constrained formal mode of its
procedure, and to the place of its meeting, as
they had done from the beginning.”

“Where was Luther at this deeply interesting
inquired Catharine Allen.

“He was not there,” replied Mrs. Athearn,

“But he must have viewed these transactions
with intense interest,”
added Ellen Ormond.

“Doubtless he did,” replied her teacher; “but
with a grief and indignation, far more holy and
just in its character, than had he been there.
Luther was in heaven! he was in the council of
the Highest—in the assembly of the just made
perfect; free from all personal sin and sorrow,
and divested of all those anxieties and wearing
apprehensions for the honor of his Redeemer’s
cause, that he had on earth. He was destined
never to behold the desolating calamities, which
swept the Lord’s vineyard; he was never to be
pained with the sight of those agonizing tortures
and seas of blood, through which his faithful
followers waded to their homes above.”

Tears trembled in the eyes of the sensitive 17(5)v 206
Alice, as she inquired, “Where and how did
Luther die?”

Mrs. A. “He died at Eisleben, the place
of his nativity. For several years his health
had been feeble; though, till a very short time
before his death, no immediate danger was apprehended.”

“On the 1546-02-1717th of February, 1546, he was suddenly
taken more unwell than usual, and departed
this life about three, the next morning. A
little before his death, he was heard to say in
ejaculation, ‘Oh my heavenly Father, eternal
and merciful God! thou hast revealed to me
thy Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. I have preached
him, I have confessed him, I love him, and
I worship him, as my dearest Saviour and
Redeemer—him whom the wicked persecute, accuse,
and blaspheme.’
He then repeated several times these words,
‘Into thy hands I commit my spirit; God of
truth thou hast redeemed me.’
Some time after, one said to him, ‘Dearest
father, do you verily confess Jesus Christ, the
Son of God, our Saviour and Redeemer?’
replied, ‘yes,’ distinctly.
The cold chills of death immediately began
to settle down upon his brow, and although they
moved him and called him, he gave no answer;
with his hands clasped, he began to breathe
slowly and faintly, till he breathed his last. He
was buried beneath the church of All Saints, 17(6)r 207
at Wittemberg, with great solemnity, deeply
regretted and lamented.”

Mrs. Athearn paused here—and then said,
“the first steps of the council of Trent had been
received by Luther with deep feeling. For some
time previous to his death, he was accustomed
to say to a friend of his, as he retired to rest,
‘Pray to God, that the cause of his church may
prosper, for the council of Trent is vehemently
enraged against it.’”

“Thus died Luther, for a series of years one
of the most conspicuous men in Europe, and one
among the few, who have so lived and labored
as to bless posterity till the end of time.
But to return. Deeply as the deceit of the emperor, and the
obstinacy of the Pope affected the protestants,
their distress was far greater at the treachery of
some of their friends. Maurice of Saxony,
who had till now favored the protestant cause,
though he had never joined the Smalkaldic
league, among others turned traitor in this hour
of danger.
Led by ambition and desire of power, he concluded
a treaty with Charles, engaging to assist
him with his forces. He was to receive from
Charles, in return, the dignities and territories
of his father-in-law, the elector of Saxony.”

“Bribed! contemptible!” exclaimed one of
the young ladies in the fullness of her indignation.

“But I have not yet told all,” said Mrs.
. “Besides the baseness of the treachery 17(6)v 208
itself, and of entering a league against so near
a relative, he kept his engagement with the
emperor concealed, and perfidiously acted the
part of friendship toward the protestants till both
parties took the field.”

“Did matters actually end in an open war?”
exclaimed Alice.

Mrs. A. “Yes; during the summer, the Pope
and the emperor concluded an alliance, the
object of which they avowed to be the punishment
of the protestants in Germany, for their
obstinate rejection of the council. The emperor
engaged on his part, ‘to declare war immediately,
and reduce the heretics by force;’

promising to enter into no treaty with them, nor
concede any points in religion, without the
Pope’s consent.”

“The Pope engaged to furnish twelve thousand
men for the purpose, to support them at his own
expense six months if necessary, and moreover,
to add considerable pecuniary assistance.
Such, in substance, were the conditions of
the treaty.”

Maria Ellis. “I hope the reformed party were
prepared for this hostile step.”

Mrs. A. “Yes, they began to take vigorous
measures for their own defence. They sent
deputies to Charles, to ascertain his intentions
in collecting such a vast military force, and
learning in reply, that it was ‘to punish the
elector of Saxony, and the landgrave of Hesse,’

they took the field with 85,000 men.”

18(1)r 209

Miss Andrews. “85,000! What a number.
I had no idea the Reformation had spread to
such a degree, that so many could have been
mustered in its defence.”

Mrs. A. “Charles was surprised likewise
at the strength of their forces; his own were
inferior—only 16,000; for as yet the Pope’s
re-inforcement had not arrived.”

Miss Andrews. “It seems the protestants first
took the field; I am sorry to see that.”

Mrs. A. “But they were compelled at this
juncture, either to act in their own defence,
or abjure their religion and submit both to temporal
and spiritual tyranny. What could they
do? Instead of taking advantage of the emperor’s
situation, as they might have done, they
hesitated—and addressed a letter to the emperor,
vindicating their conduct in taking up arms in
defence of their religion and liberties.”

Alice. “What did he say to that?”

Mrs. Athearn. “He made no reply at all to it,
farther than immediately to publish the ban of
the empire against the elector of Saxony, the
landgrave of Hesse, and all who should render
them any assistance—that was reply enough.”

“What is the ban of the empire?” said Mary

Mrs. A “Publicly declaring them to be
traitors to their country, and depriving them of
every civil privilege, which was the most severe
sentence the emperor could publish. For some
time after hostilities actually commenced, although 18 18(1)v 210
Charles attacked and made himself master of
several towns, it seemed doubtful which party
would eventually be forced to yield; the conduct
of Maurice at length decided the question in
favor of the emperor.”

Several of the young ladies could scarcely restrain
their indignation.

Mrs. A. “Maurice, as he had planned, invaded
the territories of the elector of Saxony,
and obtained possession of nearly the whole
electorate; of course, the elector withdrew his
own forces from the general army to defend his
own private interests. His withdrawal was but
a prelude to that of others; and Charles, taking
advantage of the division, put his army in motion,
and soon compelled many of the most important
cities to surrender.”

“His success daunted the courage of the remaining
confederates, and all submitted upon
just such conditions as he chose to prescribe,
two excepted, the elector, and the landgrave of

Miss Allen. “Did the elector lose all his possessions?”

Mrs. A. “Maurice seized upon the greater
part, but the elector soon recovered them.”

“Some time after, the emperor again advanced
toward the Saxons; after a severe engagement
he defeated them, and took the elector prisoner.”

“O!” said Alice, “how sorry I am! How
Luther would have felt, had he seen his friend’s

18(2)r 211

“You are thinking, my dear girl,” said Mrs.
, “of him who so kindly and warmly
befriended Luther, in his time of danger.”

“Yes, madam,” she replied.

Mrs. Athearn. “But the present elector was
not he. Frederic, to whom you allude, like him
whom he protected, had finished his course, and
had gone to receive his reward. The present
possessor of the electorate was his grandson; a
more zealous defender of the cause, than his

“When Charles had secured the elector as his
prisoner, he proceeded immediately to Wittemberg,
to take possession of that place; but the
elector’s wife held out the city, till alarmed by
the emperor’s repeated threats to take her husband’s
life, unless she surrendered it, she gave
up its keys; and thus the treacherous Maurice
was at length rewarded with the electorate of
Saxony, which he had so long coveted, and, as it
were, sold himself to gain.
The landgrave of Hesse, seeing the defeat
of his friend, entered into terms of agreement
with the emperor, but no sooner had he signed
the treaty, than he was seized prisoner by the
emperor, and with the elector, was carried about
to grace his triumph!”

Miss Arnold. “I am sure these must have
been dark times to the Protestants.”

Mrs. A. “Oh, they were dark indeed! Luther
was not—and their two bold leaders were
in captivity; their cause seemed threatened with 18(2)v 212
total destruction. The emperor’s enmity to it
appeared rapidly to increase; in the diet at
Augsburg, which followed these commotions,
the emperor personally commanded absolute acquiesence
in the decisions of the council of
Trent; he took possession of the churches there
by force, and re-established the Roman Catholic
worship in them. Troops were stationed in the
neighboring cities and villages, ready to enforce
any decisions he chose. The bold, public measures,
adopted by the emperor, were calculated
greatly to inflame the head of the church, so
long accustomed to rule in such matters, and to
know no appeal from his wishes and laws. He
became exceedingly jealous of Charles’ increasing
power; to check the monarch’s ambition
and continue his own influence in it complete,
he resolved to remove the assembly from Trent, and
to Bologna, entirely beneath his own supervision.
An infectious disease broke out in Trent, and
the pontiff seized upon this as a plausible excuse
for effecting his purpose. It was done; the emperor
protested against it, but his remonstrances
were disregarded. Charles now seemed to be
a third party in the existing difficulties; for while
he opposed the Bologna council, he could not
force the Protestants, more than formerly, to
submit to its decisions. He could not think for
a moment, however, of abandoning his purpose
of subjecting them to the Roman Catholic faith.
What could he do? In the midst of his dilemma,
he resolved upon framing such a system of faith 18(3)r 213
from the belief of both parties, as he could induce
by force or persuasion of the Protestant and
Popish churches to adopt. With the assistance
of some Romish ecclesiastics, he succeeded in
composing a complete system of divinity, which,
with sanguine expectations, he laid before the
next diet, convened at Augsburg on the 1548-05-1515th of
May, 1548

Catharine Allen. “I should admire to know
what the system was.”

Mrs. A. “It contained almost all the doctrines
of the Romish church, so modified, or ambiguously
expressed, as perhaps partially to impose
on a few, and to be entirely dissatisfactory to
others. He called it the Interim, because it
contained temporary regulations. He laid it before
the diet. The archbishop of Mentz, president
of the electorate college, arose, and thanking
the emperor for his pious endeavors to restore
peace in the church, said, he, in the name of the
diet, entirely approved of the system, and expressed
their resolution to conform to it in every

Susan Arnold. “I suppose he had his lesson
beforehand. Well, I dare say some one undeceived
the emperor as to that.”

Mrs. A. “No; amazement at such a
declaration seized them all. No one had
courage to contradict it, and the emperor was
artful enough to take advantage of the general
feeling, and prepared to enforce the observance
of it as the decree of the empire.”

18* 18(3)v 214

Miss Andrews. “But how was it, in reality,

Mrs. A. “Both parties openly scorned
it. Several cities refused to adopt it. By force
of arms, the emperor compelled the public establishment
of its ceremonies in two or three places,
and several others, through fear, sanctioned its
adoption. The Roman Catholics blamed it as
approaching too nearly Protestantism; and the
reformed party spurned it, as Popery disguised.
But Charles was resolved the Interim should be
adopted; he was determined all Germany should
submit to its laws. He offered the elector of
Saxony his liberty, if he would set the example
to the rest of the Protestants. ‘Never,’ said
the good man, ‘will I abjure what I firmly
believe. I cannot now,’
said he, ‘abandon in
my old age the principles for which I early contended;
nor, in order to procure freedom during
a few declining years, will I betray that good
cause on account of which I have suffered so
much, and am willing to suffer.’”

“‘Better for me to enjoy in this solitude the
esteem of virtuous men, together with the approbation
of my own conscience, than to return
into the world with the imputation and guilt of
apostacy, to disgrace and embitter the remainder
of my days.’”

“A noble spirit,” said one young lady.

“But so greatly did it enrage the emperor,”
said Mrs,. Athearn, “that he increased the rigor
of his confinement, and deprived him of the 18(4)r 215
solace he had hitherto enjoyed in the visits of
his Protestant friends.”

“From several cities, he also violently took
away their privileges, and imprisoned their ministers,
compelling them at last to comply with all
he enjoined. But I have anticipated events.”

Miss Arnold. “What were the Bologna council
doing meanwhile?”

Mrs. A. “Slowly but warmly examining the
doctrines of the Roman Catholic faith, and
deciding questions of reform. In the fifth session,
held at Trent, a decree was passed on original
. The discussions on that point, with the
final result, are too tedious to give in detail.
Anathemas were denounced in the decree on
all who did not believe thus and so, but so puzzled
were they by the conflict of opinion, and
so difficult did they find it to make an explanation
of its nature, that they actually published a
decree without a definition.”

“Justification was the doctrine in debate at
the sixth session. This point, in all its varied
ramifications, afforded matter for long and frequent
discussions. The session was to have
been held --07-28July 28, but so tardy were the disputants
in fixing on any unanimous, definite decision
on the subject, that it was postponed until
1547-01-13Jan. 13, 1547. The decree, as it was at length
framed in the council, is too long to give you
entire, but I will repeat to you some expressions
in a prayer used by Roman Catholics, which 18(4)v 216
will show you their sentiments on the doctrine
of justification.
‘I desire by thy grace to make satisfaction
for my sins by worthy fruits of penance
; and I
will willingly accept from thy hands whatever
pains, crosses, or sufferings I shall meet with
during the remainder of my life, or at my death,
as just punishments of my iniquities; begging
that they may be united to the suffering and
death of my Redeemer
, and sanctified by his
passion, in which is all my hope for mercy,
grace, and salvation.’
The seventh and eighth sessions, held --03-03March
and --03-1111th, were devoted to the consideration
of the sacraments. You know the views of the
Romish church on their number, efficacy, &c.
from our conversation on a preceding evening.
Baptism and confirmation were the particular
points on which they dwelt during their present
deliberations. Transubstantiation, it was resolved,
should be considered in the next assembly.
Various circumstances which occurred before
the ninth session, I have already related by
anticipation. The proposition of the Pope to
remove the council to Bologna I named. This
intended measure greatly enraged the emperor.
He was fully aware, that the Protestants would
never submit to the decisions of a council, held
in any Papal city—he was offended that he had
not been consulted in the measure, and in his
wrath he declared the Pope to be an obstinate 18(5)r 217
old man, and that he would ruin the church
eventually. He threatened to throw Santa
(the Pope’s legate) into the Adige, The river on which Trent is situated. if he
persisted in urging the removal of the council.
However, it was made, and the ninth session
held there --04-21April 21. Charles meanwhile consoled
himself, with his sanguine hopes of calling
a council himself, which should give satisfaction
to all parties; he resolved that his new system
should be adopted as the faith of every member,
both Protestant and Popish, and he intended to
see to it, that every thing in the discipline
and practice of the church, which needed correction,
should forthwith be corrected.
Few prelates, for various reasons, repaired to
Bologna, and nothing of importance was determined
at the ninth session, or the tenth, and the
council was prorogued for an indefinite period.
On 1551-05-01May 1, 1551, was held the eleventh session,
and the usual solemnities were observed
upon the re-opening of the council; it was now
held at Trent.”

Susan Arnold. “At Trent again?”

Mrs. A. “Yes; after Charles had subdued
the Protestants, he summoned another diet of
the empire to meet at Augsburg in September.”

“After many conferences and much difficulty,
it was agreed that Charles should endeavor to
obtain from the Pope a removal of the council
to Trent; that all decrees, already passed there, 18(5)v 218
should be re-examined, and that the Protestant
divines should have a free, deliberative voice in
the assembly; that the Pope should not preside
either personally or by his legates.
The Protestants promised submission to the
council on such conditions.
But the Pope was resolute in his denial to
accede to any of these demands; the assembly
at Bologna dwindled almost into nonentity, and
to save contempt, the pontiff dissolved it. Soon
after, grieved and disheartened, he died, and
was succeeded by De Monte.”

“One of the legates, was he not?” asked
one of the little girls.

“He was,” replied Mrs. Athearn. “He
assumed the name of Julius 3d, at his installation,
which took place 1550-02-23Feb. 23, 1550.”

“He was a man of pleasure, indolent, and reckless;
and many hoped his love of luxury would
lead him to relaxed measures against the adherents
of the new system.
Charles, too, thought the present might be
a favorable juncture to press his negotiations,
relative to the resumption and removal of the
council. On four conditions the Pope promised
to comply, viz. that the co-operation of the
French king should be obtained—the decrees
already passed should remain as they were—
arrangements should be made speedily to terminate
the council, as it was attended with great
expense in the support of the prelates at Trent 18(6)r 219
—and lastly, and especially, that ‘Papal authority
should be entirely preserved.’
The projected re-opening of the council was
announced at the next diet at Augsburg, and
unreserved submission to its decrees was required
by the emperor, on the Pope’s conditions.
The Protestants refused compliance except on
exactly the terms to which in the last diet they
had agreed.
Charles was embarrassed; he sent a statement
of his difficulties to the Pope, desiring
such alterations as might remove offence from
the Germans, especially in the article of his
presiding. The Pope warmly answered, in a
bull which he published 1551-01-27Jan. 27, 1551, that ‘he
possessed the sole power of convening and directing
general councils;’
and he commanded,
‘in the plentitude of apostolical authority, the
prelates of Europe to repair forthwith to Trent,’

promising ‘unless prevented by his age and
infirmities, or the pressure of public affairs, to
preside in person’
—and denounced ‘the vengeance
of Almighty God, and of the apostles,
Peter and Paul, on any who should resist or disobey
the decree.’”

Miss Allen. “I am sure, matters grow worse
and worse.”

Mrs. A. “Yes, the presentation of this bull to
the diet produced great agitation. The Protestants
declared ‘such arrogant pretensions precluded
the hope of conciliation, and they must
retract any promise they had given to submit to 18(6)v 220
the council, since it could not be done without
wounding their consciences and offending God.’

The Catholics affirmed ‘as there was no probability
of reconciling the Protestants, it would be
useless to waste their time and money by going
to Trent.’”

“The emperor was not in great difficulty; he
however, made many promises and engagements,
which partially appeased the deep feeling, and
accordingly ambassadors and divines from the
different parties met at the eleventh session,
held at Trent, --05-01May 1. The number assembled
was small, and little was done. So likewise, at
the twelfth. Great pomp attended the celebration
of the thirteenth session, --10-11Oct. 11, and the
long disputed subject of transubstantiation was

“How?” said one young lady.

Mrs. A. “In such terms as these: that ‘the
true body of our Lord and his true blood, together
with his soul and divinity do exist under the
species of the bread and wine.’
‘Christ, whole
and entire, exists under the species of bread,
and in every particle thereof, and under the
species of wine, and in all its parts.’
whosoever shall affirm that it is not so, saith
the decree, ‘let him be accursed.’”

Alice started, and said to her teacher, “Do
Catholics believe and mean to say, that every
communicant eats the Lord Jesus Christ?”

Mrs. A. “If Christ is ‘whole and entire’ in
every particle of bread, and in every drop of wine 19(1)r 221
which he partakes, what would they have us understand

Miss Allen. “I hope the Protestants had not
bound themselves to submit to sentiments so absurd,
profane, horrid!”

Mrs. A. “Few Protestants were as yet present
to hear and join the discussion. The decree
now passed, was received with chagrin and

“In Challoner’s Garden of the soul, page 251,
among the directions there given for receiving
the communion, you may find a clause as absurd
as this;
‘At the time of your receiving, let your head
be erect, your mouth open moderately wide,
and your tongue a little advanced, so as to rest
upon your under lip, that the priest may conveniently
carry the blessed sacrament into your
mouth; which being done, shut your mouth, let
the sacred host moisten a little upon your tongue,
and then swallow it down as soon as you can,
and afterwards abstain from spitting. If
the host should chance to stick to the roof of
your mouth, be not disturbed; neither must you
put your finger into your mouth to remove it, but
gently and quietly remove it with your tongue,
and so convey it down; and then return to your
place, and endeavor to entertain, as well as you
can, the guest whom you have received.’”

A suppressed smile of indignation curled on
the lip of several at such absurdity; one young 19 19(1)v 222
lady inquired if such a sentiment entered into
the present belief of Roman Catholics.

Mrs. Athearn replied, that the decrees of
Trent were the present avowed faith of that

“I ought to have mentioned to you,” said
she, returning to the affairs of the council,
“that a safe-conduct had been demanded by the
Protestants, to protect their ambassadors and
divines, during any events or results which might
arise while they resided at Trent.”

“In this last session it was prepared and
issued, but proved altogether dissatisfactory to
those who demanded it. It guaranteed full permission
to go to Trent—to remain there and to
leave—also to discuss disputed subjects; but
certain expressions were so intermingled, that
an opening was left for a breach of faith, especially
in one clause, granting liberty ‘as far as the
council is concerned.’
There was no guarantee
from civil power. They therefore rejected it,
and demanded such an one as had been granted
to the Bohemians at the council of Basle.
The fourteenth session was a warmr
season. Penance was the subject.
The Roman Catholics seemed in great haste to
despatch as much business as was possible, before
the Protestants arrived; therefore they assembled
twice a day for discussion, previous to
the session. But warm disputes ensued on some
complicated questions; the legate Crescentio became
angry at some observations, and his haughty 19(2)r 223
and tyrannical conduct disgusted and provoked
others. Many prelates desired to withdraw, but
the solicitations of the imperial ambassadors prevented.
The decisions of the council on the
question in debate are too long to name here.
I have had occasion to say considerable on this
subject on a former evening, especially on the
of penance, &c. In the decree passed at
the session, I remember some such expressions
as these—‘The council teaches, that such is
the abundance of the divine bounty, that we are
able to make satisfaction to God the Father
through Christ Jesus, not only by punishments
voluntarily endured by us as chastisements for
sin, or imposed at the pleasure of the priest, according
to the degree of the offence, but also by
temporal pains, inflicted by God himself, and by
us patiently borne.’
Whosoever believes not
this, the council says, ‘let him be accursed.’ --11-25Nov. 25
Whosoever shall affirm that the practice of
secretly confessing to the priest alone, as it has
ever been observed from the beginning by the
Catholic church, and is still observed, is foreign
to the institution and command of Christ, and
is a human invention, let him be accursed.”

“At seven years of age,” continued Mrs.
, “the Roman Catholic child is taught
to kneel at his father-confessor’s feet and ransack
his youthful heart; and as if to assist him in
his discoveries, he will often ask him, have you
done thus and so? have you thought thus? &c.
often suggesting thoughts to his childish mind, 19(2)v 224
and prompting him to deeds, which had it not
been for these seasons, would never have entered
his heart.”

“No thought, feeling, or imagination, must be
concealed from his ghostly father, by any member
of this church; concealment is a mortal sin.
Every purpose, every wish, must be alike disclosed;
the priest becomes master of all; he
must be the bearer of his wants to heaven, and
the bearer of pardon for his sin from Jehovah!
Oh, what unhallowed presumption! The true
conscientious Roman Catholic is the veriest
slave on earth. Other slaves are masters of their
thoughts at least; he is not. If from fear or
shame, any word, action, thought, or feeling, is
withheld, knowing concealment is a mortal sin, his
conscience is racked with agony; he is a
stranger to peace, and cannot rest till the inmost
recesses of his heart are laid open before him,
who claims a prerogative, which to none but God
But to return to the safe-conduct, which became
a matter of great importance to the Protestants.
Dissatisfied with that already granted, two
ambassadors, sent from them appeared with instructions
to say, it was indispensably necessary
that a safe-conduct exactly conformable to that
granted at Basle should be given them—that the
discussion of those subjects now in debate should
be suspended, and those decrees already passed
be re-examined—that the Pope should not preside 19(3)r 225
in the council, but should declare his own submission
to its enactments as well as they, and
that the suffrages of all should be free; also that
the Protestant divines were about forty miles
from Trent, awaiting the result of the embassy,
and would repair thither as soon as assured of
The presidents of the council were haughty,
and refused to concede any thing. They declared
if such unreasonable demands were persisted
in, they would withdraw, dismiss the
assembly, and forbid any official act on the
subject. The Pope’s legate actually became so
enraged, that he abstracted the seal—leaving
them destitute of the means of issuing any
authoritative decree. The emperor’s ambassadors
remonstrated against such unwise procedure
—the legate was at length prevailed upon
to allow a meeting of the Protestants at his own
house, but would not permit them to be received
in public session.
At length another safe-conduct was prepared;
not, however, like that of Basle—some
things were omitted, and others altered.
They were soon informed that such a safe-
conduct could not be received.
The presidents of the council affected both
surprise and displeasure at this, and maintained
it was, in substance, precisely like that of Basle.
One replied ‘if it was really in substance
like that given at Basle, the best plan would be
to stop the mouths of their opponents by transcribing19* 19(3)v 226
the latter, word for word.’
This answer
threw them into great perplexity.”

Miss Emmons. “Why did they manifest such
unwillingness to grant so simple a request? Did
the safe-conduct prepared, differ materially from
the model proposed?”

Mrs. A. “Yes; in some important points,
which they were determined not to yield. One
thing which had been granted at Basle was—
that they should have a deliberative voice—
another, that they should have liberty to exercise
their religion in their own houses, and
that nothing should be said or done to bring
their doctrine into contempt. These things
were entirely omitted; other points, of which they
were equally tenacious, were so altered, as to be
no guarantee at all for those rights which they

Miss Allen. “Was it remodelled to their
wishes at last?”

“No,” replied Mrs. Athearn, “the legate
manœvred so well, that no alteration was made
in it.”

Miss Andrews. “Did the Protestant divines
accept it, and repair to the next session?”

Mrs. A. “No; the session was held without
them. Little was done. The discussion of the
doctrinal articles was postponed in the decree
until ‘the Protestants, for whose sake the delay
had been granted, should repair to Trent’

hoping they would come—‘not obstinately to
oppose the Catholic faith, but to learn the truth, 19(4)r 227
and acquiesce in the decrees and discipline of
holy mother church.’”

“After the sixteenth session, which was languid
and inefficient, it was agreed the council
should be suspended for the term of two years.”


Chapter XII.

Alice inquired of her teacher the cause of
the suspension of the council.

Mrs. Athearn replied, “that civil commotions
seemed to render such a measure necessary.”

“Maurice of Saxony,” she added, “who, to
advance his own temporal interests, turned traitor
to the Protestant cause, when he became
actually aware of the designing schemes entertained
by Charles Fifth against both the civil
and religious liberties of Germany, determined
on the rescue of his country from the emperor’s
tyrannical power.”

“Maurice had long acted in concert with
Charles, and by his dissimulation and intrigue
had raised himself to be the first prince in Germany.
He had taken up arms against the Protestants,
and had complied with the interim—he
had yielded to every measure suggested by the
emperor, till he possessed his entire confidence, 19(5)r 229
and thus was little prepared for the transformation
of plan and feeling, which had lately taken
place in his subject.
But when Maurice saw the restlessness of
that monarch’s ambition, stretching forward to
uncontrolled, absolute power; when he saw him
determined to enforce the popish religion on all
his subjects, even by the sword and by fire, he
resolved, and with art and caution prepared, to
vindicate the liberties of Germany, and redress
her wrongs. He obtained the assistance of the
French king, Henry 2nd, (for Francis was now
dead,) and took the field against the emperor in
1552-03-181552, March 18th. He swept all before him,
and left desolation behind. Charles was astonished
and alarmed. Trent was filled with dismay,
and the hurried dissolution of the council
was, as I have told you, agreed upon. The
forces of Maurice were already advancing upon
Trent when the assembly was dissolved.
Every city on his way threw open its gates
as soon as he approached, having been secretly
apprised of his plans, and immediately restored
the Protestant worship, which Charles had suppressed.
Nothing could save the emperor but
flight. He left Impruck precipitately, in the
middle of the night. Maurice entered the city
a few hours after, and issued a proclamation,
enjoining the Protestant ministers throughout
Germany, who had been deprived of the exercise
of their respective offices by the emperor, to
resume them.
19(5)v 230 Charles endeavored to negotiate a peace at
Passau. Maurice agreed to lay down his arms
on three conditions, that the landgrave of Hesse,
whom Charles, by a breach of faith, had made
prisoner, should be released—all wrongs in the
civil government of the empire should be redressed
immediately, and no molestation should
be offered the Protestants in the public exercise
of their religion. Charles haughtily rejected
these demands, and Maurice, at the head of his
army, hastily marched on to farther devastation.
The emperor was at length compelled to submit,
and on conditions which once he would have

“What a strange character Maurice was,”
said Miss Andrews.

Mrs. A. “His conduct was base. His love of
power led him to the first treacherous act, and I
am not at all sure, that seeing no more could be
hoped, or obtained, from Charles, the same love
of power did not lead him to shift sides again,
and in the Protestants’ extremity, take that supremacy
in their affairs which could not be
obtained in the other party. Many think that
Charles guaranteeing to him the safety of the
general cause, he gave himself up to his own
private interest—and when he found he had been
deceived by the emperor, and the public cause
was in jeopardy, that love of country triumphed
over private interest, and led him back to duty.
But look at his conduct in whatever light we
will, it is altogether unjustifiable; want of moral 19(6)r 231
principle is evidently at the foundation. It was
singular, that the Reformation should owe its
establishment in Germany, instrumentally, to
the same hand, which had well nigh rooted it

Miss Emmons. “Do you recollect the conditions
of the treaty of peace, ratified at Passau?”

Mrs. A. “They were the following. ‘That
the landgrave shall be set at liberty before the
--08-12twelfth of August; that a diet shall be held
within six months, in order to deliberate concerning
the most proper and effectual method of
preventing, for the future, all disputes and dissensions
about religion; that in the meantime,
neither the emperor nor any of the princes shall,
upon any pretext whatever, offer any injury or
violence to the Protestants, but allow them to
enjoy the free and undisturbed exercise of their
religion; that if the next diet should not be able
to terminate the disputes with regard to religion,
the stipulations in the present treaty shall continue
forever in full force and agreement; that
the Protestants shall enjoy the same civil rights
as the Roman Catholics, and that none of the
confederates shall be liable to any action on
account of what had happened in the war.’

Such were the most important articles.”

Miss Arnold. “When did this treaty take

Mrs. A. “It was signed the 1552-08-02second of August,

Miss Emmons. “What a joyful day must this 19(6)v 232
have been to those who had prayed, and sighed,
and sowed in tears for the building up of Christ’s
kingdom. Oh, that Luther could have seen it!”

Mrs. A. “Undoubtedly it was a day of thanksgiving
and praise—but Luther perhaps could
rejoice in it better above.”

“Was the council resumed at the close of two
years, as was agreed?”
said one of the younger

Mrs. A. “No; ten years elapsed before it was
re-assembled. At the expiration of two years,
a meeting was held to confer on the propriety of
summoning that assembly again. The majority
thought it an evil thing, and as it seemed to be
forgotten by both princes and people, they deemed
it best to keep silence—to say nothing about
it. The Pope willingly acquiesced in it, and
the subject was dropped. To the Protestants as
a body, no vital importance was now attached to
the assembly.”

“The religious differences existing between
them and the Catholics, did not endanger their
public and private interests as before the late
treaty. The Pope had lost his supreme power
in public opinion. The eyes of the whole nation
had been turned to blemishes in the priesthood,
and defects in their faith; and the council
seemed to be now a thing which the Romish
church owed to community to clear up her character
and recover her footing, rather than to
decide which party had Scripture and truth on 20(1)r 233
their side—God had done that in the success of
the Protestant cause.
Julius Third, the Pope, died 1555-03-23March 23,
. The cardinal Santa Croce succeeded
him, and assumed the name of Marcellus Cervinus.
He manifested a desire for reform, and
unlike his predecessors, was anxious to reassemble
the council, for which he began to take early
and efficient measures; but all the sanguine
expectations, indulged with regard to his administration,
were blasted by his early death, which
occurred only twenty-one days after his advancement.
Cardinal Caraffa, taking the name of Paul
, next filled the Papal chair. In his private
station he was remarkable for his austerity,
his sanctity, and his enmity to all indulgence
and display; but he soon laid it all aside, and
even assumed more splendor and magnificence
than his predecessors.
When once asked, ‘how he wished to be
‘splendidly; as becomes a great prince,’
he replied.
He was exceedingly haughty, unconciliating
and irritable; had a higher opinion of his office
as Pope than all the world beside, and claimed
absolute power over all civil and ecclesiastical
orders of men. He seemed entirely to have
forgotten the change in public sentiment as
to the unlimited power of Papal authority,
and assumed the right even to dispose of kingdoms.
‘No prince,’ he said, ‘should be his 20 20(1)v 234
companion; he would be above them all,’
stamping his foot he declared, ‘he would have
them all under his feet.’
The new Pope, on his election, professed
great concern for reform, and immediately proceeded
to form a body of Popish ecclesiastics,
amounting to nearly one hundred and fifty,
whom he deputed to inquire into the various
abuses charged upon the Romish church.
Some of the cardinals proposed, that matters
should be discussed in a general council;
he was greatly enraged at the proposition, and
said ‘he needed no council, he was above them
It was observed, that ‘although a council
added nothing to the authority of the Pope, yet
it was useful in devising the means of executing
his designs.’
He replied, ‘if there must be a council, it
should be at Rome, and no where else; and none
but bishops should attend it. Trent was situated
in the midst of heretics; it should never be
there. It had always been a foolish thing, in
his opinion, to send a host of bishops and
divines among the mountains, with the supposition
that they were better able to reform the
world than the vicar of the Lord Jesus Christ
with his cardinals, prelates, and divines, who
were to be found in greater number at Rome
than any where else, and were certainly the
most learned in Christendom.’”

“Did he have a council in his own style?”
asked Ellen Athearn.

20(2)r 235

Mrs. A. “No; he was too busy in political
intrigues with other powers, ever to find time
for the projected assembly. Besides, he was
greatly engaged in the prosecution of a scheme,
in which he could wreak his vengeance on all
who favored the Protestant religion.”

“The establishment of the inquisition in Italy
was owing to his zeal. Its dungeons he crowded
with prisoners of all ranks and descriptions
‘princes and princesses, priests, friars, and
bishops, entire academies, the sacred college,
and even the holy office itself fell under the suspicion
of heretical taint.’
The most horrible tortures were invented, and
death, in all its varied, agonizing, lingering
forms, was the portion of those, who stedfastly
held to the faith of the word of God, and rejected
the soul-ruining doctrines of the Romish
One inquisition after another sprang up in
the neighboring countries. Protestantism spread
with growing rapidity. Thousands embraced
and adhered to it at the expense of life. In
Flanders, fifty thousand persons were put to
death for their attachment to it.”

“Fifty thousand!” exclaimed Alice.

“And in other countries,” continued Mrs.
, “persecution raged violently. Henry
, the successor of Francis First, king of
France, was a most bitter enemy to the Protestant
faith. He enjoined the most superstitious
ceremonies of the Romish faith on his subjects.”

20(2)v 236 “By his command, images of the Virgin and
of the saints were placed at the corners of the
streets; those who refused to bow to them, and
make offerings of money to defray the expenses
of the ceremonies, were either immediately
knocked down, or dragged to prison. All judges
were even ordered to arrest, as heretics, those
whose tenderness and distress led them to solicit
their favor in behalf of friends, condemned to
death as heretics. Ecclesiastical courts were
erected; the kingdom searched diligently, and
every man, woman, and child, suspected of partiality
for the Protestant faith, were brought
before their tribunals, and either thrown into
dungeons or put to death.
Friends even dared not whisper their mutual
thoughts and feelings on the most important of
all subjects, religion; each knew not but the
other might betray—he knew not but every step,
and word, and look were haunted and watched
by the eagle eye of some of the thousand spies
throughout his country, comissioned to seize,
deliver, and destroy. Oh, my dear young ladies,
those were fearful days! Do we realize in any
degree, the spiritual blessings of our happy
It is said, that at the coronation of Henry’s
queen, one of the amusements of the day was
the burning of a large number of Protestants!
In 15621562, a large congregation assembled for
divine service at Viessy, in France, were attacked 20(3)r 237
by one of the French dukes, and 250 of the
unoffending congregation were barbarously put
to death!”

“My dear Mrs. Athearn,” said Alice, as the
color forsook her cheek, “can all these things
be true?”

Mrs. A. “Would they were not, but they are
fearfully true. And even more. So horrid,
dark, secret, and malignant did the persecution
of the Protestants become, that they were obliged
to take up arms in their own defence. In
the first battle, fought at Draix, in 1563, the
Roman Catholics were successful. A treaty of
peace was concluded—but soon violated by the
Roman Catholic magistrates, and war was again
renewed. The prince of Condé, one of the
Protestant leaders, was slain—the war continued
with little intermission till 15701570; a new treaty
was then formed.”

“Open war did not as decisively and expeditiously
terminate the growing heresy as was
wished, and a new scheme was originated among
Papists, which is too iniquitous almost to relate.
After the last treaty of peace was signed, the
French king and his mother affected greater
humanity and kindness toward the adherents of
the new system than ever before they manifested.
Admiral Coligny, the most able Protestant
leader, was invited to court, and treated with
uncommon complaisance. His friends warned
him not to trust—and besought him to be wary
—but so marked was every act of civility and 20* 20(3)v 238
friendship, that he yielded implicit confidence to
their professions, and was completely deceived.
One evening, however, as he was returning to
his own house, he was fired upon from a window,
and wounded in his arm. His suspicion of
treachery was then awakened; but the king
immediately visiting him, and manifesting both
indignation and sorrow at what had happened, as
well as promising to ascertain and punish the
assassin; he was satisfied, and his fears allayed.
But the snare was deep-laid, and sure. That
same evening, in the cabinet, was the projected
scheme matured. A general massacre of the
reformed was designed, and the duke of Guise
willingly took the direction of it. The day was
appointed, and admiral Coligny was marked the
first victim. It came, and a bell near the Louvre
rang, the signal decreed. A body of troops
rushed forth to commence the slaughter. Coligny’s
house was first attacked, his room entered,
and the victim found. He begged them to
spare him—to respect his gray heirs. They
replied not, but the foremost plunged his sword
into the admiral’s breast, and threw the body
into the court; it was treated with every indignity
by the populace—the duke of Guise silently
viewed the lifeless body, but the count of Angouleme
kicked it with his foot, exclaiming,
‘Courage, my friends; we have begun well, let
us also finish well.’
The body was dragged to the common gallows
and chained; the head was cut off and carried 20(4)r 239
to the queen, and she sent it as a gift to the
The Roman Catholic citizens rushed forward
to the work of slaughter with the utmost zeal,
imbruing their hands in the blood of their neighbors,
their companions, sparing not even their
nearest relatives. The queen feasted her eyes
with a view of the carnage from one of the
palace-windows; the king, from another, encouraged
the murderers, by frequently crying,
‘Kill, kill’—and seeing some of the Protestants,
endeavoring to escape, he seized his gun,
and levelled them himself!!
Five days the horrid carnage lasted. More
than ten thousand Protestants perished in Paris
alone. In Meaux, Orleans, Troyes, Angers,
Bourges, Toulouse, Rouen, and Lyons, the same
fiend-like spirit raged; and besides those I have
named, more than twenty-five thousand were
butchered in the French provinces.”

When Mrs. Athearn looked up after stating
these facts, she encountered the astonished
glance of almost every pupil; but not a word
was said for some moments.

“At Rome, Mrs. Athearn, how was this proceeding
said one young lady, at

Mrs. A. “Public rejoicings were held; solemn
thanks were offered up to Deity for the success
obtained. The holy father himself went in procession
to St. Louis’ church, to render thanks,
public, solemn thanks to the all-merciful Creator, 20(4)v 240
the all-gracious Redeemer, for what had
been done!—that they had been able to launch
so many precious souls into eternity.”

“Again were the Protestant party compelled to
take up arms in self-defence, till a new treaty
was formed in 15751575. But their sorrows did not
end here. A few years after, ‘liberty of conscience
was abolished; all the Protestant
churches were destroyed; their books suppressed;
and an order was issued to take their children
from them, and put them into the hands of
their Catholic relatives, that they might be educated
in the Popish religion. All the terrors of
military execution were employed to force them
to change their religion; and these persecutions
having induced multitudes to leave the kingdom,
orders were issued to double the guards at every
place, by which they might escape, that they
might either be arrested in their flight, or killed
on the spot.
Every prison in the kingdom was soon filled
with the Protestants, and a price was set on the
heads of the rest, who were hunted by the soldiers,
like wild beasts. Thus about a twentieth
part of the whole body, in a very short time,
perished, and above 500,000 were driven into
exile, who fled to England, Scotland, Holland,
Germany, or Switzerland, and many of them
settled in New England.
In the Netherlands too, the Reformation
spread, and multitudes of converts were found.
The clergy were alarmed at the growing defection 20(5)r 241
from the ancient church, and fire and sword
were employed to eradicate the evil. One priest
having been accused of preaching contrary to
the emperor’s decree, and of entering into the
marriage relation, was put to death. Three
men were sentenced to the flames at Arras, for
refusing to honor the holy candle, as it was called
in that city. A printer was beheaded at Antwerp,
for saying, in the annotations to one of his
Bibles, ‘that the salvation of mankind proceeds
from Christ alone.’
William Tindale, a learned
and zealous English reformer, was strangled,
and then burnt by the Roman Catholics, for having
translated the New Testament into the English
In 15531553, a tradesman in the town of Bergen-
, was condemned to be burnt, because he
refused to kneel when the sacramental bread
was carried through the street before his shop.
A widow of the name of Karleer was put to
death for allowing people to read the Scriptures
in her house, and her son also.
John Malo, a soldier, was put to death for
speaking disrespectfully of the mass.
Such were the punishments inflicted, and
such were some of the crimes for which the
Protestants laid down their lives, in the reign of
Charles Fifth,. Fifty thousand inhabitants were put to death in the
Netherlands alone, on account of their religious principles.
And during the reign of his 20(5)v 242
son Philip, their miseries were vastly increased.
If any person was convicted, even of having
been present at the religious meetings of Protestants,
death was the consequence; by the
sword, if a man—and if a woman, she was
burned alive.”

“Dear Mrs. Athearn,” said Alice, “do not
tell any more.”

So sensitively alive was this amiable little girl
to suffering, that nature began to reel, and her
little pale face was reclining on the shoulder of
her neighbor, who was in the act of applying the
smelling-bottle to check her faintness. But
Mrs. Athearn did not see her and she said,

“I have culled but a fraction from the vast
mass of historical matter on this subject, which
has been handed down from other generations to
this. Read the numerous histories of the Reformation
in the different countries of Europe
the lives of the reigning monarchs of that, and
the succeeding century—of the then existing
successive Popes, with the transactions of the
Romish court—read the various descriptions of
the inquisitions in different countries, and the
sufferings and tortures endured by many within
them for years, and read of the horrid martyrdoms
of thousands upon thousands, who died
for cleaving to the truth as it is in Jesus—as it
is revealed in the Scriptures of the Old and
New Testament, and well might our blood curdle
in our veins, our ears tingle, and our hearts
droop and die within us at the horrid facts disclosed. 20(6)r 243
We may know much; but we shall
never know the number of ‘the souls of them
that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus,
and for the word of God,—’ INTERNAL ERROR. Please report to wwp@neu.edu that regMe is unmatched.Rev. xx. 4.
nor the rivers of
‘the blood of prophets, and of saints, and of all
that were slain upon the earth,’ INTERNAL ERROR. Please report to wwp@neu.edu that regMe is unmatched.Rev. xviii. 4..
till we meet in
heaven—but their record is in the court of the

“The countries I have already named,” continued
Mrs. Athearn, “were not alone the scenes
of desolation and of blood. England, Scotland,
and Ireland, were lighted with the flaming torch
of persecution. For three years, England was
filled with such uninterrupted scenes of horror,
as were a disgrace to human nature, and brought
Popery, deservedly, into utter detestation. The
Bloody Mary pursued the adherents of the
reformed church, with the most cruel, relentless
rigor. Bonner and Gardiner, the instruments of
her cruelty, were base, unfeeling men, whose
nerves were made of steel, their sinews, brass,
and their hearts of adamant. Like their mistress,
they loved to wade in seas of blood, and
their ears were delighted with the dying groans
of the innocent.”

“Rogers and Hooper, Sanders and Taylor,
were the first victims destined for the altar they
had raised; by the most excruciating tortures,
they yielded up their spirits into the hands of
their Redeemer.
20(6)v 244 Hooper was martyred at Glocester; his sufferings
were beyond conception. ‘The wind
having blown the flame of the reeds from his
body, and the faggots being green, which prevented
them for some time from kindling, all
the lower parts of his body were consumed, and
one of his hands dropped off before his vitals
were touched. Yet, in the midst of all his sufferings,
he continued, sometimes in earnest
prayer, and sometimes in exhorting the people
to continue stedfast in the faith of Christ, till
his tongue was so much swollen, that he was
unable to speak. After remaining alive for
three quarters of an hour in the flames, this
faithful martyr yielded up his spirit to his blessed
Lord and Redeemer.’
When Sanders arrived at the place of execution,
a pardon was offered him if he would
recant, but he rejected it; and embracing the
stake, he exclaimed, ‘Welcome the cross of
Christ, welcome everlasting life.’
Taylor was first put into a pitch barrel, and
before the fire was kindled, one of the bystanders
threw a faggot at his head, which forced
from it a stream of blood. As he was repeating
the fifty-first psalm in English, one of the guards
struck him on the mouth, and ordered him to
speak in Latin; another, in a rage, gave him a
blow on the head with a halbert, which put a
period to his torments.
Cardinal Beaton pursued the same horrid
work in Scotland, which Bonner so successfully 21(1)r 245
and unweariedly prosecuted in England. Among
the many who fell beneath his avenging hand,
was one Helen Stark, whose crime was ‘refusing,
when in labor, to pray to the Virgin Mary,’

affirming that ‘she would pray to God alone, in
the name of Jesus Christ.’
Strongly attached to her husband, she requested
her cruel judges that they might die together.
But this was refused. She was permitted,
however, to accompany him to the place
of execution, where she soothed his mind, at
that trying moment, with the consolations of the
gospel; adding, ‘Husband, be glad—we have
lived together many joyful days, and this day on
which we must die, we ought to esteem the most
joyful of all, because now we shall have joy forever;
therefore, I will not bid you good-night,
for we shall shortly meet in the kingdom of
After witnessing his execution, she
prepared herself for her own. Having entreated
her neighbors to show kindness to the rest of
her children, she took the infant whom she suckled
from her bosom, embraced it once more, and
having given it to a nurse, she submitted to
death with courage and comfort.”

“But enough,” said Mrs. Athearn, as she
closed this last recital. The recollection of the
sufferings of these people of God, is too harrowing
to the feelings; but they now rest in peace,
and their reward is in heaven.”

“I hope you will not rest satisfied with the
brief relation I have given you, in the last few 21 21(1)v 246
evenings, of the events connected with the memorable
withdrawal from the superstitions and
corruptions of the Roman Catholic Church.
Search for yourselves; you will find a vast field
for investigation, and a fund of information,
which you may improve to the best good of
many perishing souls. Even o’er the very
shores of your own native country, my dear girls,
the ‘Man of Sin’ is striding—his footsteps are
already in our Western Valley; he exults in
the hope of planting ‘the mark of the beast in
the forehead or in the hands’
of her infant
children, and of bringing all her thousands, by
her various means, to bow before his image.
To Christians, now awakening to the spiritual
destiny of the growing West of this country, he
has boastingly and publicly said, ‘you are
twenty years too late.’
But it is not so. This
fair portion of our Lord’s heritage may yet be
saved, if all will zealously, and faithfully, and
prayerfully do their duty.”

“Are the Catholics doing much to establish
their religion in the Valley of the Mississippi?”

said one of the girls, anxiously.

Mrs. A. “Yes; the Pope and all his subjects
are wide awake. He is pouring out his thousands
of money, and his thousands of men, and
they are swarming and settling down like locusts
in its prairies. Colleges, convents, academies,
and schools, are thickening fast, pregnant with
the baleful influence and erroneous doctrines of
the Romish faith. About 100,000 of his Holiness’ 21(2)r 247
most faithful subjects pressed our shores
the last year. Money will not be spared to forward
their designs. Let Christians do their
duty, as they are now beginning to do, and with
the Lord’s blessing, the Western Valley will be

“But it is growing late, we must soon retire.”

“Oh! do not leave us yet,” said Mary Dunbar.
“Please to tell us if that council never
met again?”

Mrs. A. “Yes, several times; it examined
and re-examined, discussed, disputed, and at
length settled down upon almost precisely the
same errors in doctrine, which it had heretofore
propagated, and upon the same practices, with
slight modifications, which it had previously indulged
—and continue nearly the same in doctrine,
belief, and practice, to this very day.”

“Mrs. Athearn,” said Miss Emmons, “I saw
a very curious fact the other day; I have dwelt
upon it much, and will mention it.”

“A person, lately in Italy, was witnessing a
ceremony of the Romish church, similar to
many you have described to us, and as the Pope
passed him in the procession, splendidly clothed
in his pontifical robes, the gentleman’s eye
rested on these full, blazing letters, in the front
of his mitre—
‘Vicarivs Filii Dei.’
The Vicar of the Son of God.
His thoughts, with the rapidity of lightning, reverted
to INTERNAL ERROR. Please report to wwp@neu.edu that regMe is unmatched.Rev. xiii. 18.”
21(2)v 248

“Will you turn to it, Alice?” said Mrs.

Alice opened the New Testament and read:

“‘Let him that hath understanding, count the
number of the beast, for it is the number of a
man; and his number is three hundred threescore
and six.’”

She paused, and Miss Emmons said—“He
took out his pencil, and marking the numerical
letter of the inscription on his tablets, it stood
thus:— A figure showing the tabulation of the number 666 from the words ‘Vicarivs. Filii. Dei.’ in three columns. The tabulation is accomplished by extracting roman numerals from each word and adding them.

  • Vicarivs
    • V 5
    • I 1
    • C 100
    • I 1
    • V 5
    • 112
  • INTERNAL ERROR. Please report to wwp@neu.edu that cb is unmatched.
  • Filii
    • I 1
    • L 50
    • I 1
    • I 1
    • 53
  • Dei.
    • D 500
    • I 1
    • 501
  • 53
  • 112
  • 666”

The result startled every young lady.

“How singular!” said one, “Strange!” exclaimed
another. Mrs. Athearn said nothing at

Miss Marvin inquired if nothing could be
done to prevent the spread of the doctrines of
the Romish church in the West.

Mrs. A. “Oh yes, my dear, much that can,
and much that must be done. We can send
among the people prayerfully, Bibles, Tracts,
and teachers, and its doctrines will not prevail.
There are many youthful, enterprising persons,
who, if encouraged, would willingly go out into
our western villages, and gather the rising generation 21(3)r 249
into schools; let them go, and early instil
into the infant population the truths of the
gospel. Let the wholesome doctrines of the
Bible bias their youthful tastes, and the palate
will be prepared to reject the crude dogmas of
popery. Let wheat be sowed, before the enemy
has time to sow tares. If we sit still, and fold
our hands in inactivity, till the present generation
are moulded by popish ingenuity into their
belief and their practices, rejecting the word of
God, by which alone they can be saved, we
may repent of our sloth and rise to duty, but
our efforts will come too late. ‘New wine cannot
be put into old bottles.’”

“Let pious families, who long to labor for Christ,
and are willing to make sacrifices, if so be that
souls may be saved, go out and let their light
shine in the Valley of the Mississippi. There is
many a village in New England, where a light or
two would not be missed, and who knows how
many souls, guided by the example and influence
of a holy, consistent, active Christian family
influence, might find their way to heaven.
I rejoice that a spirit of deep interest, of judicious
effort, and of earnest prayer for the
western portion of our country, seems now
awaking among Christians;—may it greatly increase.”

Evening prayers soon followed this last remark,
and Mrs. Athearn failed not most fervently,
amid her other petitions, to supplicate
the dews of divine grace upon this part of the 21(3)v 250
Lord’s vineyard; and to pray for the spiritual
welfare of her little flock, that they might be
sanctified and saved, and like the faithful servants
of Christ, of whom she had conversed,
might exert a holy, renovating influence in this
fallen world.


Publications of the
Mass. Sabbath School Society,
Depository, No. 24, Cornhill, (late Market St.)

21(4)v 252

Interesting Books
For-sale at the Depository
of the
Mass. Sabbath School Society,
No. 24, Cornhill, (late Market St.)