ancient discipline has, or has not, consulted more wisely for the interests of piety and true religion, than the Church of England, where even the appearance of that discipline is done away with ; it may likewise be doubted by which of the two these interests have best been taken care of in the case of indulgences. p. 73.

And again :

On the whole then, if it may fairly admit of a doubt-a doubt the members of each will probably solve according to the respective prejudices of their education-which of the churches consults most wisely in her practice-, pp. 74, 75.

And, as the two churches are so much on a par, each having such good reasons for going an opposite way to the other, the idea naturally suggests itself, of a union between them, as between sisters, “who have been too long and too unhappily separated” (p. 33). This idea of union was one of the most offensive features in the work of the Rev. W. Harness, M. A. reviewed in our Tenth Number; but-such an amazing increase of effrontery has taken place in the interval—that work has now by no means a prominent character, but is thrown into the background, by another still more explicit.

Thus, with all the expressions of calmness and impartiality which abound in this publication, we are continually meeting with something that excites a slight suspicion. But we are not left to these suspicions long: for, as we proceed, the true character of the work comes fully out.

To one circumstance we have already referred—namely, that with so many pleas for peace and universal harmony, and with the incessant cry for charity, there appears from time to time a spirit of extreme bitterness and rancour, together with many most vituperative terms and imputations. This leads us at once to discover, that the cry for peace is a delusion. And we would recommend the test, as one of general application, and, in these hypocritical days, of great use.

Mock-liberals in religion are constantly urging the plea of peace and charity: but the bitterness in their hearts is sure soon to betray itself in their words; and it speedily becomes apparent that there is a certain people, namely, the uncompromising advocates of pure religion, and a certain system, namely, the Truth, for which they feel no charity, and with which they desire no peace.

These terms of vituperation are directed, in the work before us, against the opponents of Popery; to whom our author seldom alludes, but in the language of contempt, exclusion, reprobation, or personal enmity and antipathy. We have even felt more than one suspicion, prompted perhaps partly by vanity, that our own humble periodical was occasionally the object of his strictures. And here we may observe, as a general circumstance, that in this age, when ideas are scarce, and literary plunder rife,

we have traced thoughts and expressions of our own in various quarters; in periodicals, on platforms, in newspapers, and we could but notice how many have stolen our words or suggestions, who have not thought fit to recognise our existence. And, forasmuch as we perceive ourselves, in more than one quarter, to be the objects of oblique attack, we beg that those who assail us, should our publication go on, will for the future designate us, (not adopting the clumsy expedient in the Gentleman's Magazine, of mutilating our title in return for ripping up their contents)—and further, as we may not always hear of it, will send their work to our publishers, addressed to us, with the place turned down. We know that we are read by those by whom we are not named: but let them remember, that if they wish their arrow to tell, they must label it with some direction, by way of feather, to carry it steady to the mark.-Whether we, in the present instance, are aimed at or not, it is clear that there is enmity against the advocates of Protestantism in the heart; and therefore the cry of general peace and charity is at best unmeaning. The fact is, that in every question of real interest, the man who takes up an air of impartiality, takes up

a false position. In questions of this kind, there is no such thing. Hence, as he proceeds, the fact must sooner or later come out. No one can long appear impartial, in a case where he is really interested. A friend to Popery, who wishes to write a book in its defence, may start by saying, in a tone of feigned indifference, Come, let us calmly look into this question : let us see what may be said on both sides ;” but the plan, probably, will not answer. Either he will do the thing feebly, and the whole will come to nothing; or else he will kindle as he proceeds, let himself out, and stand discovered, ere he has done, a warm and eager partizan ;-which is what has happened in the work be

But it is right that our readers should see for themselves the fruits of our author's charity, especially as the expressions to which we refer sometimes stand in near approach to others, in which charity is strongly recommended. Thus, he writes,

It is but an ill sample of Christian charity in one party, and but a poor encouragement to it in the other, to introduce ill names into religious controversy. pp. 37, 38.

Yet, just after, he speaks of evils produced in the Romanists by their opponents, by means of “an ungenerous and vituperative hostility.” (p. 38.) Is not this introducing ill names ? Again, we are told, that


fore us.

Mutual charges and recriminations can serve no purpose, but to keep alive those hostile feelings which all true Christians must wish to see rooted out. p.


Yet in the page before we read about “ certain hot-headed and violent persons” (p. 102). At another place, the alleged opinions of some Protestants are described as monstrous, inpious, and antichristian doctrines.” (p. 122.)

With regard to a certain accusation against the Pope,

All the sharp-sightedness of hatred has been put into requisition to find materials for establishing the charge. p. 150.

Another assertion is

Such a manifest contradiction of terms, as hardly any thing but the infatuation of party spirit would lead a man to hazard. p. 151.

With regard to the assertions and motives of Protestant writers of the present day,

These facts prove the falsity of the assertion; and compel one to suspect that in many who make it, “ their wish is father to their thought." p. 121.

And again :

Persons may be forgiven, if they think that there is something else besides the difference in religion which excites this fierce and deadly hatred. p. 123.

Yet we are solemnly warned in another place, not to “impute ill motives” (p. 38.) Thus all this pleading for charity is a farce. In the present day we have too often found it so. Where speaking of Roman-Catholic wrath and bitterness, the author extenuates; where of Protestant, reprobates it. This is not the way to be impartial. Soon may we see more of true charity prevailing! There is indeed too little of it now: but in order that it may be brought forward into its proper place and influence, the present system of spurious charity, and false liberality, must be exposed, denounced, demolished, and exploded. If already it is growing stale, if already men are beginning to suspect and see through the fraud, this is no evil, but a great point gained.

But now, as to hatred, rancour, party-spirit, and the like.Such hatred as we feel in this matter, let us not deny. We hate Popery. We say not that we hate the Papists. But we hate Popery. We hate it, in the Church of Rome and out of it. We hate it among Dissenters. We hate it in the Church of England, where it abounds. We hate it wherever we meet with it. We hate it in our dearest friends, as often as they shew it. We hate it in our own hearts; in which, as in the hearts of all men, it is natural, and requires to be constantly watched against and put down. In the Church of Rome, the evil is embodied, figured forth, and systematized; presented in a visible and tangible form : a horrid she-idol, blackening in the smoke of centuries, with blood dry-clotted in her serpent locks, and ABOMINATION branded in letters of fire upon her haggard and harlot front. Therefore we especially hate Popery in the Church of Rome.--With respect to this hatred of Popery, there may, we are ready to grant, be different degrees of feeling. But if there be any professors of religion who feel it not-and, generally, if there be any professors of religion who do not feel more or less of hatred and natural antipathy to false doctrine of every kind -we have no great opinion of their Christianity. As to the peace which wants this feeling, it will generally be found at bottom either very unmeaning, or very malignant. It generally has, for its accompaniinent, more or less of a hatred of the Truth. In fact, there are strong antipathies, on the part both of the decided enemies of the Truth, and its decided friends. But the difference is this. The decided friends of the Truth have their antipathies, and express them. The enemies also have theirs, but disguise them with the cloke of universal benevolence; and enter into the battle with murderous shouts of “ peace, “ liberality," and "charity.” Amongst the enemies of religion, open and concealed, the scale of malignity will generally be found to rise with that of assumed gentleness; and the blandest of unbelievers will generally be found the most bitter opponents, and the most cruel persecutors.

But there are other things by which the true character of the present work comes out. The author's political sentiments are of the most extraordinary kind. The following passage was at first beyond us.

There is something, on the same principle, equally more terrible in the guilty success of the misguided Mary, when she drove out him to whom she owed her being, to wander through the wide world for the sake of his faith, than in the trial wherewith it pleased God to allow her ill-used father to shew, if not by death, yet by " the loss of all things,” his constancy to that mode of serving his Maker and Saviour, which he judged to be most acceptable in his sight. p. 128.

It is explained, however, in a subsequent passage.

Now to prosper in guilt, (as the Parliament did in their regicide, and the Princess of Orange in her undutifulness), &c. p. 134.

And again, To the eye of faith and Christianity, king James in the convent of La Trappe is a far higher object of envy and admiration, than his unnatural children on their father's throne. p. 132.

This is the writer who is so highly offended by the political strictures of some Protestant writers, who object to the breach of oaths. But, as to the doctrines of Popery—the author distinctly favours them. For example, the sale of indulgences.

The sale of indulgences, which, perverted as it has been, is still in some respects useful. (p. 74.)

And, as to those whom we call our Protestant martyrs, they were after all, it seems, no martyrs. For, in answering the allegation that Rome is spoken of in the Apocalypse as being


3 F

drunken " with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus," our author first refers to those Protestants who have been put to death on religious grounds by Papists, then to other individuals who have suffered under different circumstances, and then adds :

When all these things are remembered and considered, as it will appear impossible to confine this charge to the Church of Rome, so shall we find reason for believing that it does not apply to her at all. For if the matter be weighed dispassionately, it will be doubiful whether any of the persons thus put to death can be considered, strictly speaking, as the “ martyrs of Jesus.” To their own opinion of what they judged to be the doctrine of Jesus Christ, they were undoubtedly martyrs; but it was not because they were Christians that they were slain, not because they bore the name and professed the faith of Jesus Christ, but because those who killed them deemed their doctrines contrury to Christianity, and derogatory to the honour of Jesus : it seemed to them, that the holders of such doctrines were blasphemers and impious, their persons offensive and odious to him, and that therefore, by an unauthorized conclusion, it was the duty of all who loved him to punish them. pp. 153, 154.

By this time we have said enough to shew where our author really is.—And now, as his work contains so many of the common arguments for Popery, it may be expected that we should expose some of them. The fact is, however, that this writer is hampered : and it were better, perhaps, to answer an avowed Roman-Catholic, if we went at length into the question, than an author who is of course obliged to lay himself under some restraints. We content ourselves, therefore, with noticing a few particulars. On the power exercised by the Church of Rome over sovereign princes, he writes thus :

In considering this point there is no need to dwell on the impious and unwarrantable power of deposing sovereign princes, claimed and exercised heretofore by the Church of Rome; because with all the formality possible the learned bodies and high authorities of that church have disowned it, and denied that any such power now exists. Let us give others that credit for their assertions which we expect for our own; and let both parties consent to bury in oblivion the fact of such a claim having ever been asserted. p. 97.

It is granted, then, that this “impious and unwarrantable power” was heretofore“ claimed and exercised” by the Church of Rome. This is admitted, as a “fact." What then does the author urge in vindication of this fact? Why, that the authorities of the Romish Church have “disowned” such a power. -But this term “disowned” is unsatisfactory. It cannot mean that they have denied what formerly took place, for the “ fact is admitted. Does it simply mean, then, that they have renounced

power, as now existing? But this is by no means satisfactory. We do not call upon Rome to disown, merely. We call upon her to own. We call upon her to acknowledge that she has done wrong. We call upon her, while she acknowledges the fact, to condemn it. We call upon her to

any such

« VorigeDoorgaan »