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derstood. The chief operator murders the victim by main force; while the assistants stand by, and ever and anon- -as the gasping sufferer utters his half-stifled and agonizing shouts of death - put their mouths to his ear, and say " Hush, hush !”
The peace produced under such circumstances is the peace of departing life.—The vampire, when sucking his victim's blood, of course wishes him to be still ; and fans him, that he may sleep, with outspread and waving pinions.—And at religious meetings, where the just expression of Christian sentiments is kept down by the deceitful plea of peace, fancy might almost discern Satan, who is there unseen, embodied in the vampire's form; floating in dark mist above the crowded hall; and from wings of night, that stretch their sable canopy from the organ to the platform, shaking forth a slumberous influence on all below, a peace that is sleep, a sleep that is death!
But though, in the particular case of which we are now speaking, peace was gained during the meetings of the week, this was not without much to stir up the Protestant blood of some who were present. The speakers began by deprecating all discussion : yet many of them, before they had done, contrived indirectly, perhaps unconsciously, to intimate their own sentiments upon the great question now at issue, the discussion of which they deprecated ; and that in a way that certainly tended to provoke reply. For instance, when it was observed, that “ those who had so earnestly petitioned against emancipation, were certainly called upon to do much for the spiritual good of Ireland,”—but for the plea of peace it might have been replied, that this was an unfair and irritating insinuation ; that as far as Christians were concerned, the opponents of emancipation have ever been amongst the most forward in promoting Ireland's spiritual good ; and that the disposition to do less, the disposition to check exertion, the disposition to prevent discussions with the Catholics, and to restrict other efforts for their good, seems now chiefly to lie on the other side,-in the false tenderness, and mawkish liberality, of the friends of emancipation.So, too, when the late measure of so-called relief was termed an
adjustment of the question,”—but for the plea of peace it might have been replied, that this expression conveyed an untruth ; and that the question was never further from an adjustment than at this very moment.-
When, again, it was asserted, that the barriers lately removed were mere human barriers,”but for the plea of peace it might have been replied, that these barriers were religious, were sacred barriers; and th the act of removing them was an act of sacrilege, impiety, and perjury, meriting, and bringing down upon all the estates of this realm,
the curse of God, which curse they are under now. -When it was observed, that “now we might argue with the Roman Catholics upon equal terms,”—but for the plea of peace it might have been replied, that, when people are in deadly error, we ought to begin to argue with them, and do what we can to convert them, whether they are on equal terms with us or not.When we were told, that"
ramparts were cast down, and the defence must be made by men,”—but for the plea of peace it might have been replied, that previously we were assured that the ramparts would be strengthened ; and that to turn round upon us in this way when the work was done, and tell us that they were cast down, looked very like effrontery, So much was there to try Protestant feeling, and to call forth the expression of Protestant sentiments. But " peace” was the word ; and it is a word that always has some weight with religious and conscientious persons: if they are undecided, it helps to determine them ; if they are decided, it sometimes embarrasses them: and the result was, not a holy peace—that we strenuously deny—but a compromise; in which one party had their own way, and stated their own views; and the other party
suffered them to do so, none effectually interposing or raising his voice. The whole ended in general congratulations, on the harmony maintained ; and with no expression of shame, that reached our ears, on the part of those who had thus abandoned their principles.-On the whole, we must perceive, when we look back on these meetings, that we were deluded by the plea of peace; in other words, that we were taken in : that a peculiarly suitable season for the expression of Protestant sentiments on the part of the Christian world was so far lost : that the wish to maintain quiet was a wish to prevent such an expression : and that the wish succeeded, through blind deference, where there ought to have been stern resolve and uncompromising independ
And, had no redeeming circumstances subsequently occurred, our Protestant brethren from Ireland- we mean, the anti-catholic part of them, those who are worthy of the name of Protestants must have re-crossed the Channel under a most painful impression, that not a spark of Protestant feeling yet lived amongst their English friends.
Thus much respecting those religious meetings of the year which were characterized by the maintenance of harmony : and from what we have said it will be understood, that we are the decided friends of harmony in its proper place, but that we decidedly disapproved of it on those occasions to which we refer. We now go on to say a word of two of those meetings, and some such there were, which were distinguished by an
expression of principle. Already had we begun to despair of any thing of the kind. The anniversaries, we thought, would pass; none would speak out; and a false impression would be conveyed. Had such been the case, we must have deplored it as a sad occurrence, as a fatal sign. But the Lord ordained it otherwise: and we take the event as a token for good. Towards the close of the period of meetings, two anniversaries took place, of another kind. The former, at which we were not present, was that of the CONTINENTAL Society. Here, as we understand, a speaker made an attempt to put down discussion on the subject of prophecy; and to force upon the meeting, in very plain terms, his own offensive sentiments in favour of the Popish claims. This attempt, it appears, called forth strong expressions of feeling, and explicit statements of opinion. If there was angry contention and bitterness, this, we grant, was bad: but not so bad as if the attempted Popery had been endured through the plea of peace. But the next day, at the anniversary of the REFORMATION Society, we had the happiness and the privilege of attending: and if that Society be the means of sending abroad, through the empire, such a spirit as was then manifested at its meeting, we hope its performances will come up to its name. Happily--for so it proved-happily, towards the beginning of the meeting, a speaker made a set attempt to palliate Popish error; especially in two of its worst features, persecution and idolatry. Happily, we say, because it gave å tone to the meeting. The attempt was not tolerated. The sentiments expressed drew forth immediate and decided tokens of strong disapprobation, which told us that Protestantism was not extinct. Many sounds have we heard, that have gladdened our hearts. But few ever reached our ears in tones so welcome, as those manly, those decided expressions of English, of Christian reprobation, which told us at the Reformation Society that Protestant feeling was not yet extinct amongst us, and that the compact of spurious peace was not to be eternal. Nor was this all. A new tone, as we have said, was given to the meeting. Protestant sentiments were avowed. The principle of Protestantism, as an aggressive system, was clearly recognised. In opposition to those who know about as little of what ought to be now done for Ireland as they know of the moon, there was a full and triumphant vindication of the system of promoting Christian knowledge in that land, by means of discussions. In a word, there was a general expression of principle.—At the conclusion, we spoke with a friend who had attended no London meetings before, for years. He was delighted. “This," said he, “is indeed an improvement. Formerly, when I was an attendant at these meetings, there was Mr. U— praising Mr. 0—, and Mr. 0 praising Mr. U till they ought to have made one another's hair stand an end. But now we have heard something.".
We shall be glad to hear more of the same sort. We shall be glad if this tone is kept up. We shall not be sorry to see a new party rising to support it. In the good days of the Dutch church, we understand that there was a particular race or class of preachers, called "Reprovers.” We want such a class now: men who will speak out: men who will protest against what is wrong in the religious world : men who will break through the restrictions which the laity, or their brethren through fear of the laity, shall endeavour to impose upon them : men who will declare forgotten truths, and make a stand for great principles. We know not whether the Lord be not now about to raise up such an order of men in the midst of us: a token for good, and a warning, to our church and times ! Such a class of persons will want peculiar helps, which they must seek from the Most High. While bold before the congregation and the world, they will need to walk, before God, with greater humility than any. Severity in the exterior, must be tempered by boundless compassion and charity within; not always to be shewn, but ever to be cherished unseen. They will need especial help, and an especial keeping, against those sins which they denounce; for to such sins we are always, by nature, more liable than to any others. Moreover, there are many mistakes to which, through the arts of Satan, they will be particulary exposed, and against which, therefore, they must especially watch and pray. They must shun the spirit of universal condemnation, which makes no exceptions. They must avoid sweeping accusations. They must guard themselves against the influence of private feelings. They must constantly suspect themselves of uncharitableness. They must avoid the tone of denouncing rather than of seeking the sinner. -But, withal, they must arise to their high calling, and to the exigencies of the church : they must take their stand on the Lord's side : they must let us know what they mean : they must declare plainly, and make all men understand, that they will have no peace that shall compromise Christian principles.
Whether such a spirit is desirable at all public meetings, may be a question. In some of those of the present year, we certainly think it was wanted. There are some anniversaries, in which it may naturally be expected that harmony should be allowed to reign. The Bible Society, for instance, has ever been regarded as an annual exhibition of harmony. It is something to be able to shew, that Christians of different denominations can meet together in peace, and act together for a common end. And though here, also, we should wish the standard of principle—the standard of division—to be raised, whenever need shall require, yet no right-minded person would desire to bring the voice of contention into the anniversaries of the Bible Society, without sufficient cause. We would same, generally, of the anniversaries of the week.” Here let there be peace : peace, we mean, as long as the speakers will let Christian and Protestant principles alone ; and not take advantage of the understanding that we are to have peace, to offend and wound those who are present, by bringing forward sentiments in which they cannot acquiesce ;—but no longer.On the whole, let there not only be the maintenance of harmony, but the expression of principle. The principle of “peace at all events comes at last to this, that whatever is first said-be it absurdity, be it heresy-we are to let pass : and, after all, the peace which is obtained amongst Christian brethren, by a suppression of their real sentiments, is unworthy of them : and the kind of peace to be desired is, when there is the fullest confidence and the utmost freedom of communication on all sides ; when each speaks his mind; when each opens his heart; and when, after all is told, though there do appear some shades of difference, yet a general harmony as to essentials is not merely assumed, but made manifest; each knowing distinctly the points wherein he differs from each, yet each knowing the far weightier and more essential truths wherein all are agreed. Here there may indeed be peace, even the peace
of God. We will only add, that much of what we have said on the expression of principle, in application to Protestantism, may be also applied to another subject, of the highest interest in the present day-we mean, PROPHECY. Anxious to be acquainted with the sentiments really entertained on this subject, of which sentiments many complain so loudly and know so little, we have occasionally gone to public meetings, in the wish and expectation that some light would be there thrown upon it: and surely it is a topic quite as much to the purpose in religious anniversaries, as many that are there brought forward. But often, when there was a prospect of our wish being gratified, we have been disappointed. Here also the tyrannical plea of harmony has interfered—differences were to be dreaded—the public statement of principles was to be put down-we have come away unenlightened, and by no means with a better feeling to the cry of peace.” A little light on the prophetical subject we have sometimes gained at anniversaries; but the dread of contention has sadly restricted it. Perhaps, had due freedom been allowed to this important topic, the religious public might by