Catholic priest turned Presbyterian pastor

Excerpt from “The Finished Wonder”

Charles Chiniquy
  • Charles Chiniquy

It seemed that God was far away, but He was very near. Suddenly the thought entered my mind: “You have your Gospel; read it, and you will find the light.” On my knees, and with trembling hand, I opened the book. Not I, but God opened it, for my eyes fell on I Cor. 7:23: “you have been bought with a price; do not become the slaves of men.” With these words the light came to me, and for the first time I saw the great mystery of salvation, as much as man can see it. I said to myself, “Jesus has bought me. Then, if Jesus has bought me, He has saved me. I am saved. Jesus is my God! All the works of God are perfect…” I then felt such a joy, such a peace, that the angels of God could not be more happy than I was.”

— from “The Finished Wonder”

Charles P. Chiniquy (1809–1899) was a recalcitrant Canadian Roman Catholic priest who eventually left the faith to become a Presbyterian pastor. Born in Quebec, he was ordained a Catholic priest in 1833 and eventually became known for his temperance campaign against alcohol. Sued by a prominent Catholic layman, Chiniquy hired then-aspiring attorney Abraham Lincoln to defend him. After clashing with the Chicago hierarchy of the Church, Chiniquy left the priesthood and wrote a number of bombastic titles against his former faith, including The Priest, the Woman, and the Confessional. He was also known for his conspiracy theories — including the theory that the Civil War was started as a way for the Vatican to conquer the U.S.

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