Fifty Years in the “Church” of Rome; The Conversion of a Priest
by Charles Chiniquy can be read online.
50 Years in the “Church” of Rome tells the life story of Charles Chiniquy (born 1809), who from childhood deeply loved and memorized Scripture, even though throughout his life the reading of the Bible was often prohibited. Charles loved God and thought becoming a priest was the way to serve God.
Mr. Chiniquy tells with great humility and graciousness of the dark error and the resulting problems (which are still prevalent in the Roman church today) that he experienced as he worked his way throught the system to become a Roman Catholic priest. Charles struggled as he saw the “church” repeatedly violate the Word of God, and there came a time when Charles “was ordered to give up his precious Bible and pledge blind obedience to the ‘church.'”
This book shows how God, even though His Word is hated and banished, uses His Word to combat error and rescue us, fallen deceived creatures that we are, from the kingdom of Satan. This book is well worth your time to read. The book is full of graciousness and not hatred at a system full of error. I found myself rejoicing at how God worked so mightily in the Illinois church where Charles Chiniquy was priest.
“In that very instant, I remembered that I had my dear New Testament with me, which I used then, as now, to carry everywhere. The thought flashed across my mind that I would find in that Divine book the answer to my prayer, and light to guide me thorough that dark night, to that house of refuge and salvation, after which my soul was ardently longing. With a trembling hand and a praying heart, I opened the book at random but no! not I, my God himself opened it for me. My eyes fell on these words: “YE ARE BOUGHT WITH A PRICE. BE NOT YE THE SERVANTS OF MEN” (I Cor. vii. 23).
“Strange to say! Those words came to my mind, more as a light than an articulated sound. They suddenly but most beautifully and powerfully gave me, as much as a man can know it, the knowledge of the great mystery of a perfect salvation through Christ alone. They at once brought a great and delightful calm to my soul. I said to myself: “Jesus has bought me, then I am His; for when I have bought a thing it is mine, absolutely mine! Jesus has bought me! I, then, belong to Him! He alone has a right over me. I do not belong to the bishops, to the popes, not even to the church, as I have been told till now. I belong to Jesus and to Him alone! His Word must be my guide, and my light by day and by night. Jesus has bought me,” I said again to myself; “then He has saved me! and if so, I am saved, perfectly saved, for ever saved! for Jesus cannot save me by half. Jesus is my God; the works of God are perfect. My salvation must, then, be a perfect salvation. But how has He saved me? What price has He paid for my poor guilty soul?” The answer came as quickly as lightning: “He bought you with His blood shed on the cross! He saved you by dying on Calvary!”
“I then said to myself again: “If Jesus has perfectly saved me by shedding His blood on the cross, I am not saved, as I have thought and preached till now, by my penances, my prayers to Mary and the saints, my confessions and indulgences, not even by the flames of purgatory!”
“In that instant, all things which, as a Roman Catholic, I had to believe to be saved all the mummeries by which the poor Roman Catholics are so cruelly deceived, the chaplets, indulgences, scapularies, auricular confession, invocation of the virgin, holy water, masses, purgatory, etc., given as means of salvation, vanished from my mind as a huge tower, when struck at the foundation, crumbles to the ground. Jesus alone remained in my mind as the Saviour of my soul!
“Oh! what a joy I felt at this simple, but sublime truth! But it was the will of God that this joy should be short. It suddenly went away with the beautiful light which had caused it; and my poor soul was again wrapped in the most awful darkness. However profound that darkness was, a still darker object presented itself before my mind. It was a very high mountain, but not composed of sand or stones, it was a mountain of my sins. I saw them all standing before me. And still more horrified was I when I saw it moving towards me as if, with a mighty hand, to crush me. I tried to escape, but in vain. I felt tied to the floor, and the next moment it had rolled over me. I felt as crushed under its weight; for it was as heavy as granite. I could scarcely breathe! My only hope was to cry to God for help. With a loud voice, heard by many in the hotel, I cried: “O my God! have mercy upon me! My sins are destroying me! I am lost, save me!” But, it seemed God could not hear me. The mountain was between, to prevent my cries from reaching Him, and to hide my tears. I suddenly thought that God would have nothing to do with such a sinner, but to open the gates of hell to throw me into that burning furnace prepared for his enemies, and which I had so richly deserved!
“I was mistaken. After eight or ten minutes of unspeakable agony, the rays of a new and beautiful light began to pierce through the dark cloud which hung over me. In that light, I clearly saw my Saviour. There He was, bent under the weight of His heavy cross. His face was covered with blood, the crown of thorns was on His head, and the nails in His hands. He was looking to me with an expression of compassion, love, which no tongue can describe. Coming to me, He said: “I have heard thy cries, I have seen thy tears, I have given Myself for thee. My blood and My bruised body have paid thy debts; wilt thou give Me thy heart? Wilt thou take My Word for the only lamp of thy feet, and the only light of thy path? I bring thee eternal life as a gift!”
“`I answered: “Dear Jesus, how sweet are Thy words to my soul! Speak, oh! speak again! Yes, beloved Saviour, I want to love Thee; but dost Thou see that mountain which is crushing me? Oh! remove it! Take away my sins!”
“I had not done speaking when I saw His mighty hand stretched out. He touched the mountain, and it rolled into the deep and disappeared. At the same time, I felt as if a shower of the blood of the Lamb were falling upon me to purify my soul. And, suddenly, my humble room was transformed into a real paradise. The angels of God could not be more happy than I was in that most mysterious and blessed hour of my life. With an unspeakable joy, I said to my Saviour: “Dear Jesus, the gift of God! Thou hast brought me the pardon of my sins as a gift. Thou has brought me eternal life as a gift! Thou hast redeemed and saved me, beloved Saviour; I know, I feel it. But this is not enough. I do not want to be saved alone. Save my people also. Save my whole country! I feel rich and happy in that gift; grant me to show its beauty, and preciousness, to my people, that they may rejoice in its possession.”