The Holy Coat.

"Children, have you heard about the holy


"Holy coat" you will exclaim. "I know

about coats, but not holy ones; we don't call

 coats holy."

"I mean the holy coat which the Romanists

say, cures lame, and blind, and sick people."

"No, indeed! A coat turned doctor? A new

thing indeed! A coat cure sick folks! What can

you mean? There is no such coat really, I am

sure; is there?"

"Let me tell you about this coat, said to be so

wonderful. There is a Roman-catholic city in

Germany called Treves perhaps you had better

find it on the map; it contains a large Roman 

Catholic church many hundreds of years old,

 with an archbishop at the head of it. A few years

ago the bishop was out of money, and how he

should get some was a very important question.

I suppose he was in the same plight pope Leo

was, three hundred years before. The pope was

poor, and wanted money. Do you know what plan

he hit upon to fill his purse? 'I will make people

pay me for pardoning their sins,' said he; 'a

pardon for small sins, I will sell cheap, large sins

must cost more.' Now the Bible was a very

scarce book; so the poor people were ignorant,

and believed the pope could pardon their sins.

A great many pardons were sold, and the pope

became very rich. But the affair made a great

stir in some quarters, and well-nigh overturned

the pope's authority. The archbishop of Treves

did not like to play that game over. 'Ah, I'll

show the holy coat, and cause the people to 

come and confess their sins to that and get 

healed,' said he; 'yes, and pay for the sight too.'

"The holy coat, the Romanists declare, is the

seamless robe which Jesus Christ wore when he

lived upon the earth, and which the soldiers,

 cast lots for at his crucifixion. You remember

 about it, do you not? The archbishop of Treves

 said he had that very coat sacredly stowed 

away in the church. So he caused it to be 

published, far and wide, that in the Summer of

 1844, the holy coat was to be exhibited over the

 high altar of the great church, and that whoever

 desired to be blessed by looking at it, or cured

 by touching it, must come ready to pay for so 

great a privilege. It seems strange to us that 

people could believe in such things even from 

the mouth of a bishop.

But they did, because their minds were blinded

by idle stories, instead of being enlightened by

true Bible knowledge. As soon as the news 

passed from village to village, the men could

 think of nothing else; they began to leave their

 farms and work-shops, the women their houses

 and babies, and scraping together all the money

 they could, flocked towards Treves. The roads

 in all directions, east, west, north and south, 

were crowded with pilgrims some sick, some 

lame, some infirm all eagerly longing to behold

 the holy coat,and all expecting to be made 

better by the sight.

The city was filled. At certain hours the great

doors of the church were thrown open, and the

people marched in solemn procession up to the

altar, where the robe in a glass frame was hung

up in broad view. On casting their eyes upon

it, 'Holy coat, hear us,' 'holy coat, save us,' 'holy

coat,' issued from their lips: they stop a moment,

look anxiously at it, then fling down their

money to a priest who stands near to receive it,

pass around and go out. So great was the press

that the church was open from morning to 

midnight, and every day there was an enormous 

heap of money collected, which showed that the

 coat was a very profitable one at least. It was

 calculated that more than a million of men, 

women, and children, paid a visit to this relic,

 and a great many stories were told of the 

wonderful cures wrought by touching it; but I 

believe it was always very difficult to hunt up 

the cured people: they were not to be seen, as 

those were whom the Saviour cured in so sudden

 and wonderful a manner.

If you asked, 'Where are they? I want to

talk with somebody whom the holy coat has 

healed,' you would be told, 'Away off somewhere;

could not say certainly just where.'

"'How did it look, the holy coat?' some one

may ask. It was of a reddish brown color,

stretched over a piece of white silk in the form

 of the letter T. It seemed to have been made of

flax, with no collar, and a hole for the head to

pass through, and the whole was cased in glass,

as I just told you.

"Thus this vast body of people were led to

forsake their farms and families, and in the 

Summer also when the fields and flocks needed

 their care, and take a long and tedious journey,

 a great number of them on foot, to Treves, to be

 pardoned and blessed by the sight of an old 

coat. Pardon and blessing can only come through

 the knowledge of Jesus Christ and the influence

 of the Holy Spirit; an old coat can have nothing

to do with it. But such, children, is the ignorance

and folly in which Romanists are brought

up. How much we ought to pity them, and how

anxious ought you and I to be to give them the

word of God, and not the word of priests and

bishops, in order to make them truly wise.

"'But how came the holy coat at Treves? What

story do they tell about that?' some one may

ask still.

"I will tell you, if my story is not already too

long. More than three hundred years after Jesus

Christ died, when a Christian empress named

Helena began to think the forms of religion more

important than piety in the heart, she paid a visit

to Jerusalem for the purpose of hunting up relics

of Jesus. It was pretended that among other

things, his cross and coat came to light. 

Jerusalem, after his death, was totally destroyed

 and trodden under foot by the Roman soldiery.

 How these, for so long a period, and through 

such rough times, had been preserved from 

decay and from harm, is something which the

 Romanists do not pretend to account for. They

 say that Helena placed the cross in her own 

church at Constantinople;

and the coat she presented to the church at

 Treves, because, as some say, she was

born in that city. This same coat, it is pretended,

has been kept in secret cells in and below

the church, and after 1800 years was still in

good preservation, and in 1844 it was exhibited

as I have told you.

"But what is still more curious, there are two

other churches in Europe, each of which claims

 to possess the same coat, and at various times 

there have been hot disputes carried on between

 the three coats; each claiming to be the genuine

seamless robe of Jesus, and each calling the

 other a shameless interloper, a pretender, a

 false coat.

"This is what is called a belief in relics, a part

of the Romish system. There are various kinds

of relics; such as the holy coat, pieces of the 

cross, the tears of the Virgin Mary, St. John's 

hair, Peter's toes, Stephen's skull. Some of these

 have been sold and re-sold at great prices. It is

 said that wood enough has been sold as the 

cross of Christ, to build a great seventy-four gun

 ship of war. These relics are foolishly supposed

 to heal the sick, and preserve their possessor

 from all the ills of life. Men and women believe

 these things; and yet, in a country where the 

Bible is read and studied, there is not a child in

 the Sabbath-school but knows enough to laugh 

at such idle stories:

they know it is only God in Jesus Christ who can

pardon sins, who can raise the sick, and defend

 us from harm, not an old coat, or a piece of 

wood, or saint's toes. Thank God, children, for 

the Bible, for it brushes away all such cobwebs 

from the mind, and points to the blessed 'Lamb 

of God, who taketh away the sins of the world.'"