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"He, who would arrive at the true faith, must seek it in the Holy Scriptures alone." Prove all things, holdfast that which is good."—1. T/ttss. T. 21.
TRANSLATED FROM THE FRENCH
THE present pamphlet was preceded in France by one entitled My Farewell to Rome, written by Monsieur Bruitte, another parish-priest, who, with an aged mother, and a sister, dependant upon him for their bread, had suffered the loss of all things for the faith of Christ; left his living, and Rome; and cast himself upon God's promises.
Monsieur Maurette, who had been brought to the knowledge of the truth before Monsieur Bruitte, took up his pen upon the publication of the First Farewell, to confirm and strengthen its effect by another.
by a third converted priest, is to appear in a few days, or has
appeared by this time. Each of these
three gentlemen is well known to many of
the friends of the Gospel in
This Second Farewell, like its predecessor, met with a ready sale on its publication, and as many as eight thousand copies had been put into circulation, when the remainder were seized by direction of the French government, and an order issued for the arrest of the author, who, as it happened, was then absent from home, and preaching the faith of Christ in the department of the Var, in the south-eastern extremity of France
Just at this time occurred the discussion in the French chambers on the question of religious liberty. The Keeper of the Seals, grounding what he said on Monsieur Maurette's absence, declared that he had fled from the pursuit of justice. As soon as Monsieur Maurette became aware of this, he wrote immediately to contradict it, returned, and appeared on the 17th of last May before the Court of Assize at Foix.
He was there
arraigned on three counts,
and charged:— 1st. With
outrage and derision against a religion whose establishment is legally recognised in
The two last charges were rejected by the jury, but he was condemned on the
first to a fine of 600 francs, (a£24,)
and one year's imprisonment. Against
this decision he afterwards
appealed to a superior tribunal, the Court de Cassation, in
The translator has thought it might be useful to make these
things known in
Lastly, that if, among the clergy and the people of the Church of England, a few are turning their backs on the open Bible, to throw themselves into that which the Bible openly condemns, it might be more generally known than it is, that in France the knowledge of the Scriptures is beginning to be more and more appreciated ; so that, in one instance, not a few individuals only, but a whole parish, and in other cases, large parts of parishes, have come out of Rome, and welcomed those who brought them the doctrines of Christ and his apostles.
The translator would urge those who feel an interest in the progress of scriptural faith in France, to consult the reports and quarterly papers of the Foreign Aid Society, the British and Foreign Bible Society, and, if they have the opportunity, those of the Societes Evangeliques of France and Geneva.
December 1, 1844. DECLARATION OF PRINCIPLES.
A reflecting Christian has said, " Be not deceived by certain appearances. The community cannot be indifferent to the opinions of its members ; it feels a desire to know the real motives that govern their actions. The community wants to know the conscience of the individual."
I am but a simple and obscure individual; but having arrived at a very strong conviction, 1 think it right to make it known. A debt is not the less a debt for being a small one. I come forward therefore to discharge mine, to lay open my thoughts and my conscience, and to relate the conclusions to which this conscience has led me.
God grant that these reflections may be the means of enlightening "some of those into whose hands these simple pages may fall! All that relates to myself may be reduced to this double declaration, viz.
I SEPARATE MYSELF FROM THE POPE, TO ATTACH MYSELF TO JESUS CHRIST !
I separate myself from the Pope, because I say with St. Clement, Bishop of Rome, who died A.D. 81 : " Jesus Christ is with the humble only; He is not with those who exalt themselves above his flock. Our Lord Jesus Christ, notwithstanding his power, came not into the world in pomp and pride."*
I separate myself from the Pope, because I say with St. Ignatius, Martyr, Bishop of Antioch, A.D. 108 : " Whoever blindly follows those, who wander from the way of truth, shall not inherit the kingdom of God ; and whoever is able to distinguish truth from error, but does not make use of this faculty, and abandon a teacher of lies, God will punish.'
I separate myself from the Pope, because I say with St. Justin, Martyr, A.D. 163: He who is truly pious and wise, will value the truth which he has been led to discover above all things; and reject the opinions of the ancients, (majorum opiniones,) as soon as he perceives the falsity of them."* "
I separate myself from the Pope, because I say with St. Cyprian, Bishop of Carthage, A.D. 258 : " Neither ought any bishop in the world, to pretend to be a bishop of bishops, nor to exercise any constraint over the faith and actions of his colleagues by threats or punishment (tyran- nico terrore); for every bishop has full liberty, and may use his spiritual power according to his own convictions; and if he does so, he ought not more to be judged by another than to judge other bishops himself.''
I separate myself from the Pope, because I say with St. Hilary, Bishop of Poitiers, A.D. 369: " Because of that Antichrist, you do wrong to attach importance to the walls of temples, to regard a building as the Church of God, or if you repeat the name of peace under their roofs. Is it then doubtful that Antichrist may not establish his throne there? The mountain, the forest, the lake, the prison, and the cave, are to me safer places."* "
I separate myself from the Pope, because I say with St. Basil, Bishop of Caesarea, A.D. 379 : " Let us compare the discourses and writings of our teachers with the doctrines of the Bible, and accept only that which is conformable to the scriptures."
I separate myself from the Pope, because I say with St. Ambrose Bishop of Milan, A.D. 397 : " The Lord has forbidden us to call any man master in matters of religion, because we have only one master, Jesus Christ the anointed one, who is always ready to enlighten our understandings, if we shut not out his light from our souls Our faith in the church, (i. e. in its visible heads,) must be tried by the declarations of scripture, and we must admit the church as our guide, only when it can be proved that Christ dwelleth in her."§
I separate myself from the Pope, because I say with
I separate myself from the Pope, because I say with
I separate myself from the Pope, because I say with Theodoret, bishop of Cyricus, A.D. 460 : " A blind faith is, on the contrary, the source of all the errors and all the evils of the church. Of all heresies, the worst and most dangerous is that, which is raising its head so high and so mighty in our days ; that, viz., which requires of man, with equal absurdity and injustice, to renounce his understanding, and not to examine his religion ; and thus prevents him from ever attaining a firm and living faith. Faith is called a blind assent to dogmas, that have no force and are based upon no proof."*
I separate myself from the Pope, because I say with Gregory 1st, Bishop of Rome, A.D. 604: " If a bishop is called by the name of universal bishop, then when this bishop falls, the whole church must fall with him. Away with such folly, such levity, such blasphemy, which deprives all other priests of the honour, that one in his folly arrogates to himself alone. To accept such a title is no less than to make shipwreck of the faith The Bishop of Constantinople" (says the same writer) " has had the audacity to call himself Universal Pope, Catholic Father, Bishop of all the Bishops ; but can this unexampled pride, this criminal ambition, be ought else than the fore-runner of Antichrist ?"
I separate myself from the Pope, because the Word of God says to me—" Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils; speaking lies in hypocrisy ; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them that believe, and know the truth."
I separate myself from the Pope, because the Word of God says to me—" Come out of Babylon," ( the Church of Rome) " my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues : for her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities.
But, in separating myself from the Pope, I ATTACH MYSELF TO JESUS CHRIST
I attach myself to Jesus Christ, because Simon Peter says, " I lay in
I attach myself to Jesus Christ, because St. Paul says, " According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise master-builder, I lay the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. For other foundation can no man lay, than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ."
I attach myself to Jesus Christ, because St. John says, " And now, little children, abide in Him," (in Jesus Christ,) " that when He shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before Him at his coming."
I attach myself to Jesus Christ, because He says Himself, " I am the way, the truth, and the life." He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life." || " Come unto me," saith again this good Saviour, " all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." 1 Peter ii. 6. t 1 Cor. iii. 10, 12. J 1 John ii. 28. § John xiv. 6. I! John iii. 36. H Matt. xi. 28.
Such is my declaration. I will now attempt to show by what means I arrived at these convictions ; but first let me say that I am but a simple priest, who for twenty- one years have used no dialect, but that of the mountains of the ancient Comte de Foix ( Ariege). I entreat you, therefore, benevolent reader, to excuse the simplicity of my language, and my faults of style.
II. Glory to God in the highest; peace on earth, and good-will towards men.
TO THE INHABITANTS OF SERRES, MY PARISHIONERS, SALVATION AND BLESSING, THROUGH JESUS CHRIST OUR LORD
MY DEAR FRIENDS,
If circumstances, as painful and delicate for you as for myself, had not detained me, I should have gone nearly two years since to refresh my heart and my faith in Jesus to a country, whose inhabitants, by the help of God, had the happening two hundred and seven years ago, of abolishing the Papacy, and of re-establishing the religion that Jesus Christ instituted, and the apostles taught, that is to say, freed from all the dogmas and superstitious practices with which popes and bishops have disfigured it, since about the year 700.
But as you yourselves were witnesses, two months and a half after I had given in my resignation of the office of priest, and member of the Church of Rome, certain priests took advantage of the weakness of a few poor women to get up a charivari.
Amidst the insulting cries and noise that these persons raised amongst you, the cry of assassination and poison reached your ears—cries that recalled, but too forcibly, the ages of ignorance and barbarity that marked the reign of the Popes. In the face of this unscriptural commotion, I felt myself obliged by duty, as well as by love for you, to defer my departure ; for I was willing to draw upon myself the fury of those spirits of darkness, and to seal with my blood those gospel truths, which it has been our happiness to know.
God willed in his eternal decrees, which I seek not to penetrate, that neither assassin nor poisoner should be found amongst the worthy inhabitants of Serres. It will ever be to your honour and glory, that in spite of all the falsehoods of certain priests, you never for a single instant lost sight of that commandment, which says, " Thou shalt do no murder." (Exod. xx. 13).
Inhabitants of Serres ! you have heard your church resound with the_ cry, " Destroy those people, (meaning the Protestants,) and your indignation was so roused, you were so scandalized by it, that many of you have never entered it since, while many others do it with regret, and only from deference to man, in the hope of better days.
You felt that that voice was not the voice of a disciple of Him who has said, " Love one another; by this shall all men know that ye are my disciples."* You felt that that was not the doctrine of Him, who, through love to man, was born in a manger, and who, a short time before breathing his last sigh upon the cross, said to his dear disciple Peter, who had just struck one of the servants of the High Priest with a sword, " Put up thy sword into thy sheath ; for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword."
No, no, good friends, that voice which commanded you to destroy the Protestants, is not that of a minister of our good Saviour; neither is it his doctrine, but the voice and the doctrine of a scion of that priesthood, which has for too many centuries bathed a great portion of our globe in blood. Let us hope, that by the grace of God, whatever may be the cruelty of these enemies of mankind, their sanguinary doctrine may no longer find an echo in our dear and beautiful country; and that the voice of these priests will be for ever extinguished, as are the fires of their inquisition.
You now know what you have to expect from them; it is, therefore, impossible for them to delude you with their falsehoods. Whatever they may do, or whatever they may say, be not troubled; the noblest vengeance that we can take, the only vengeance we are permitted, that which alone can disarm and subdue them, is from the bottom of our hearts to offer up that prayer, which our beloved Saviour, when expiring on the cross, addressed to God his Father for those who caused Him to die in torments, such as make nature shudder, "
Father forgive them, for they know not what they do."
I, for my part, forgive with all my heart all the abuse, that the priests have poured forth against me, whether in public or in private. You heard them likewise, inhabitants of Gan- nac, and you too were indignant. Since that time I have never ceased to ask myself, how these self-styled ministers of Jesus Christ could receive the communion of the Lord's Supper, whilst their hearts were swelling with anger, and their mouths filled with fury
The religion that came down from heaven, commands us to consider all men as brethren, and to love our most cruel enemies. But, alas! these priests teach the contrary ; to hear them, one would think they sought to rekindle the fires of the Inquisition, which they themselves extinguished by the number of victims they cast in.
Dear inhabitants of Serres ! Was it thus that our divine Saviour acted ? Oh no ! for if ever the indignation of this God-man was roused, it was against those who had turned his house of prayer into a den of thieves ; against those hypocritical chief priests and Pharisees for their abuse of the law.
Inhabitants of Serres ! I authorised the free circulation of the New Testament amongst you in a language that you understand—I have read and meditated upon some chapters of this holy book with you and your children, both in public and in private, and this they say is a grievous crime, for which I received the malediction of the episcopal court; but tell me, I pray you, what harm there is in this?
If Esdras the priest rescued the old law from oblivion, and set it before the people, what evil have I committed in also rescuing from oblivion, and setting before your eyes the book, which contains the law of grace, THE GOOD TIDINGS OF FREE SALVATION;— that book, which even according to the confessions of some philosophers, is the only one which can make men honest.
If Moses was not wrong in abandoning the flock of Jethro, his father-in-law, priest of Midian, to go and deliver the Israelites, his brethren, from the bondage to which the tyranny of Pharoah had reduced them, what evil have I committed in abandoning the flock of the Pope to deliver you, and bring you out of the slavery to which this impostor has devoutly handed us over?
If Zerubbabel was not wrong in contributing to the
reestablishment of the city of
If the Daniels, the Amos's, the Samuels, and so many other courageous spirits, were not wrong in giving up all for the honour of religion, what evil do we do in sacrificing all for the restoration of that religion, which Jesus Christ gave to our fathers, and which the Bishop of Rome has by little and little taken from us, by adding doctrines and ceremonials of his own invention to it ?
Scarcely, however, was my resignation of the office of Romish priest made known, than some of them immediately reported that I had only quitted their banners, that I might have it in my power to give freer scope to my unruly passions, or from motives of interest at the best.
But tell me, inhabitants of the towns of Ax, of Masset, and of Serres, did I ever scandalise you by irregular conduct? And you, priests, tell me,—when defending your gods and your chimerical ceremonies, are you exempt from passions ? Are not these passions perhaps the very cause, which render you vile and odious in the eyes of the people ?
You have accused me of having from motives of interest deserted the
banners of his holiness the king of
Ay, much more, you push your cupidity so far, as to deprive your parishioners of the Sunday mass, if money is not forthcoming.* Nevertheless, (in my opinion at least,) you do well to act thus, for you prove by this single fact that you consider your ministry as a mere trade, and your masses simply as merchandise : " no money, no mass," that is your motto.
The Romish church, gentlemen, opened her treasures and her riches to me as well as to you; but I preferred the truths of the gospel to all her treasures and all her riches,—although those truths only bring me persecution and suffering. But it cannot be otherwise. Did not our blessed Saviour forewarn us of this ? Did not he say, " Blessed are ye when men shall revile you, and persecute you and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely for my sake; rejoice, and be exceeding glad, for great is your reward in heaven." *
Inhabitants of Serres and Gannac! who was it, I ask you, that got up a charivari against us ? The priests—who wanted women and children to insult, abuse, and cast stones at us? The priests—who urged the mayor to exert his authority to prevent our religious meetings ? The priests—who called in the aid of the gendarmes ! The priests—these are the men, who for the defence of their arguments, and the protection of their religion and their God, require the assistance of the sword ! ! !
Did not Mahomet use the same means? Cursed !—ay, thrice cursed be the religion of the sword ! Does not this levy of shields betray, but too plainly, the weakness of the cause they defend ? " To cry for help betrays a failing cause."
Inhabitants of Serres and Gannac, and you too, dear reader, what is it that we ought to wish for, to ask for, and to obtain ? The religion which Jesus Christ instituted,—that is to say, religion disencumbered of all the doctrines, and all the mummeries with which the monks have soiled it in the sink of their convents.
If religion were thus re-established, it would suit the wants of all, except those who make a trade of it. Then we should have the delight of seeing our churches, deserts as they now are, filled with the faithful servants of God,—the rich seated by the side of the poor,—the learned by the unlearned,—the old man by the young child,—all listening attentively to the Word of God, addressing to Heaven the same prayers and the same vows, and forming one heart and soul.
I know well, my friends, that in re-establishing the religion that Jesus Christ gave to our fathers, we should ruin the pretty little revenues of the priests. This is what grieves them, and makes them cry out incessantly in their despair, " You are lost ! you are lost!" But let not this alarm you, dear inhabitants of Serres; hear what Jesus Christ said to those who held similar language, " Judge not, and ye shall not be judged ; condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned;* and elsewhere, " Woe unto you, Scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites ! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men ; for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in.
Let the priests cry as much as they will, " You are lost! you are lost!" be not alarmed. Seek Him who is " the resurrection and the life;" " He that believeth in me," says Jesus Christ, " though he were dead, yet shall he live ; and whosoever liveth and believeth in me, shall never die." Let us then trust in thee, divine Saviour, let us be always ready to say with the same firm assurance as Martha, " Yea, Lord, I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, and the sentence of condemnation, which the priests are in the habit of pronouncing against all who do not submit to their will, shall vanish into air
May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God the Father, and the fellowship of the Holy Ghost, be with you all, to guide and guard you !
Pray for me !
Serres, July 15, 1843. MAURETTE