SIX VOLUMES IN ONE
BY THE DISTINGUISHED EXPONENTS OF CATHOLICISM
REV. HENRY DODRIDGE, D. D.
REV. HENRY EDWARD MANNING, D. D.
REV. F. LEWIS, of Granada
REV. STEPHEN KEENAN
REV. BERNARD VAUGHAN, S. J.
REV. THOMAS N. BURKE, O. P.
A. The two first mentioned texts are a mere corruption in the Protestant Bible, which wants a reformation much more than the Catholic Church ever did. St. Paul, here speaking of persons who lie not under the restraint of a vow, says thus (according to the Greek text): "If they do not contain, let them marry." 1 Cor. vii. 9. And again, "The spirit and the flesh are contrary one to the other, so that you do not do the things that you would." Gal. v. 17. For which the Protestant Bible put, " If they cannot contain, etc.— so that you cannot do the things that you would." The reason of this gross and scandalous corruption, is to make it patronize them lewdness and intemperance of the first ecclesiastical reformers. As to the words of St. Paul, where he says, that "marriage is honorable in all," Heb. xiii. 4, we must not imagine from hence, that it is honorable among all sorts of men, as you seem to insinuate; for if so, the marriage of a brother and a sister would be honorable, and that of those who vowed continence, to whom the same Apostle says, " it is damnable." 1 Tim. v. So that the meaning of the Apostle is, that marriage is honorable in all things, that is, in all its parts and circumstances, etc.
Q. What is a vow of obedience?
A. First, we are to consider what obedience is, which is a virtue whereby we comply with the will of a superior: for, as in natural and artificial things, inferiors are moved by superiors, so in human actions the same is to be observed as both the law of nature and the law of God do expressly require, to preserve unity in a community.
Q. What if a superior commands any thing against God's law, or things which no ways conduce to God's honor, but only to try obedience ?
A. In the first case, he must not obey unless the case be doubtful. If the thing commanded tends towards preserving the rules of the order, he is to obey. If the thing be manifestly indifferent, and no ways conducing to virtue, as to lift up a stone, or the like; it is the perfection of obedience to comply, but not required by his vow.
Q. What things are forbidden by the first commandment ?
A. All superstitious practices.
Q. What is superstition ?
A. It is a false worship of God, either by paying supreme honor to any thing but the true God, or by honoring the true God after an undue manner.
Q. Pray, give me examples of both kinds.
A. Of the first kind is idolatry, which pays| divine honor to creatures.
Q. In what manner may persons commit idolatry ?
A. First, when they regard idols as Gods. Secondly, when they worship a false God, represented by an idol.
Q. Is it not superstition and idolatry, to worship the true God as he is represented by pictures and images ?
A. By no means. The whole substance of worship centres in the true God; for what respect is paid to the representative is only relative.
Q. But the Jews were condemned by Almighty God, for worshiping the true God by representations.
A. This is a false gloss put upon their practice. The Jews were condemned on several accounts. First, for esteeming the images themselves to be Gods. Secondly, because they mingled the adoration of idols with that of the true God, pretending thereby to adore him.
Q. In what manner is superstition committed, by paying worship to the true God in an undue manner ?
A. In general, whenever religious ceremonies are made use of, which either have a false signification, or are designed to produce effects, which cannot be ascribed to God, or to any natural or artificial cause.
Q. What instances are there of this kind ?
A. There are several kinds of superstitious practices. The chief whereof are divination, or foretelling what is to happen, or discovering secrets without proper means, which not being made use of, the devil either tacitly or expressly, must interfere in the matter.