« VorigeDoorgaan »
leads ?-Yet this is certain. Such a party is wanted. And He, whose cause is concerned, and whose honour is at stake, can give the courage when his own good time shall come. His people are still his people; fearful, perplexed, divided, but true-hearted. Only He hasten the time when this shall be made manifest to all ! Be it, however, still borne in mind, that we see no such party now.
We proceed to offer a few closing cautions. Nor let it be thought that we are writing on a mere matter of speculation. Rome is busy : the danger is nigh: the conflict is at hand : and the warnings which we offer may soon come into use, in all their practical importance. But what? Even now !
We must see that our opposition to Popery be of the right kind. On the one hand, it must not be merely political. We must beware of imitating, or having much to do with, that false, degraded, hypocritical, and rapidly diminishing and sinking party, of all the lost most lost, the merely political Anticatholics. The gulf will soon close over them, and nothing but a few transient ripples mark their grave! How have we already denounced, exposed, and warned them! And how, in the face of that denunciation, have they wasted, withered away, and come to nothing! How has the utter worthlessness and insufficiency of their principles come out and been made manifest before the sun! Who are now so despised, so reduced, so powerless as they? They thought they had principles. Principles ? What were they? Where are they?' They want even
That of Br’UNSWICK they assumed, but it soon failed them; and where shall they find another? Oh fallen, fallen, fallen! sunk, sunk, sunk! lost, lost, lost! So shall it be with all, who want the essential thing, who want a right motive, who want Christian springs of action. Their constancy is a morning cloud : their zeal is sounding brass : their energy is all smoke. What, gathering themselves up? reserve ing themselves for future efforts ? What efforts will be ever made by them? It is not for those who have no real love to the truth, but have rather hated and persecuted it, to make an effectual stand against its enemies. Every plant which my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up." As the true Protestant party begins to come out and shew itself, will their shattered forces attempt to join it? Let them be most resolutely kept at arm's-length; at any rate till they give full tokens of repentance, and of a better spirit. Let them not be trusted. -On the other hand, our opposition to Popery must not steer clear of politics. It must not be so simply spiritual, and out of the world ; it must not be so entirely indifferent to the existing
state of things, and what is now going on, as to neglect public exertions; and to tolerate, and not to set itself against, and not to come into conflict with, that political delinquency, that general debauchery of public principle, which is just now one of the great moral offences of this country.-On one side or the other, most opponents of Romanism of late have erred.
We must not be deluded into a favourable view of the Church of Rome, when she is shewn to hold some doctrines that resemble the truth. For how does she deal with the truth, when it is brought to her? How does she receive the truth? If really favourable to it, she will admit it when it comes to her. But
She scorns, rejects, reviles it; persecutes it by her influence, tramples on it by her authority, crushes it by her emissaries, denounces it by her bulls. Such is her conduct even now : and the power of Popery, in checking the spread of the Gospel and the circulation of the Scriptures, is felt and exercised at this moment, to a most extraordinary degree, in quarters of the world where none would suspect its presence, or imagine it had even a motive for activity. Thus then we know what is really the mind, the animus, of Rome. Here we have the test. Why tell us of her alleged doctrines, while we have the uniform tenor of her acts, and the working of her true principles in every age?
Nor must we always trust professed friends, in their denunciations against the FALSE doctrines of Popery. We may observe, that amongst the disguised advocates of Rome there is one plan very much in use; which is, to attack and reprobate certain of her errors, and at the same time to insinuate, or with an air of liberality admit, that she has some things that are good : and thus to procure for her a degree of favour in men's minds, under the cloke of censure; and on the whole to advance her interests. Now this is a very widely extended plot, with many ramifications: and the chief difference amongst its agents is simply a difference of degree ; that is, a difference as to the relative portions of blame and approbation administered, which vary according to circumstances. For instance, we find a variation at different parts of the same book, as in the example now before us, A writer shall begin cautiously; but, warming as he proceeds, or thinking he has prepared his readers' minds, shall afterwards let himself out more plainly. We may meet with instances of the kind, in conversation : for example, with disguised Jesuits, in travelling—not abroad; while travelling in England. There is a difference, also, with different preachers. One, for instance, addressing a fashionable, ignorant, West-End congregation, will venture to go a great way. We have an example of this in the second of Mr. Harness's sermons (if they were ever preached).
VOL. 111. NO. IV.
Another feels it necessary to be more guarded : till at length we come to those, who use language, in speaking against Popery, of the strongest kind; while all that they hazard in its favour is one or two half-casual expressions, uttered, as it were, incidentallydropped parenthetically-or chaunted in the liberal twang of candid concession to an enemy. The point to be observed is, that all such persons are on one and the same side: all are of one and the same leaven: all have one object; namely, to recommend Popery. Their denunciations, then, of Popish error, being so qualified, are not to be trusted.
Again: we must see that we know what the doctrines of the Church of England really are: for if we do not, we may readily be brought to confound them with the doctrines of the Church of Rome. No doubt there are many professed Churchmen now, who would gulp the author's representations respecting the sacrament and justification, without an effort. Thus it is that Popery prevails on all sides. Truth is little known or cared for, and error spreads.
We must not suffer ourselves to be hoodwinked, as to the serious efforts which Popery is now making. We Protestants fought awhile, during the progress of the bills; were beaten ; and now rest upon our arms and are quiet; wishing, for the present at least, to hear nothing further of the matter, and disposed even to be out of humour with any one who would now stir the question : but the Papists go on steadily to their end ; regarding that transaction as only one movement of their grand plan of operations; and never more active in pushing their
designs, than at this moment. -Add to this, that the efforts of Popery are often of the most serious kind, even when they appear the slightest : and this is particularly observable with respect to books. They send out their light, readable volumes, that seem to contain nothing, and may be discussed after dinner; yet some of these are evidently the fruit not only of extraordinary art, but of much labour and study. The father of this style, in modern days, is Butler. In this style, too, with an attractive title, the “ Peace Offering” presents itself to our view, in a cheap, popular form, and with the air and tone of impartiality : as if the writer would say, “Come, let us just inquire whether we cannot find something to say, if we look sharp, in palliation—just in palliation—of some of the opinions, only some of the opinions, of our Popish brethren.” We are thus drawn in to listen: and then, under this air of candid indifference, we soon discover no small store of Popish arguments, no slight acquaintance with the sources to be searched for Popish information, and the whole furniture and set-out of polemical divinity-in short, a man that wears armour under his clothes ;—and above all, an intimacy of acquaintance with the Popish ritual and" liturgy," with the appearance and demeanour of Popish congregations, and with such like Popish concerns, both in England and elsewhere, which we might be able to account for in an avowed Romanist, in a man who had avowedly received a Roman-Catholic education, and lived in Roman-Catholic habits; but which, we must say, in a clergyman of the Church of England, is exceedingly extraordinary and particularly unaccountable.
We must cease to place confidence in the merely official supporters of Protestantism. Some there are, like our author, who vindicate the Romanists, while others seem more or less decidedly opposed to them. But the question is, Will the latter oppose the former? For example, will our Bishops and Archbishops, who voted against emancipation, do any thing against such a production as we now have before us? We question it. But, if not, how far can we depend on them?
In a word, we must regard all views 'as false or defective, which contemplate the cause of Protestantism in an inferior light than as the cause of God. It is no mere quarrel. It is no party question. The Lord hath a controversy with this realm; and all who do not shew themselves on his side, expose themselves to the consequences of being found against him.
A conflict with Popery, if there be any thing yet left to make head against it (and surely there are some, whose knees have not yet bowed), may soon commence.
This conflict will appear more and more in its true character-namely, in that of a conflict of light against darkness; a conflict of those who are on the Lord's side, mustering for the fray against Satan and his hosts; a conflict of religion, girding on her armour, putting the trumpet to her mouth, and lifting
high the standard, against ungodliness coming in like a flood. The next great sign of the times, for which we are now watching, and assuredly it will soon appear, is the crimson sword : we mean, the sign of persecution. With respect to the end of the conflict, we feel little doubt. Concerning the horrors of its progress, we own some dark forebodings. Already the two parties are beginning to draw off, for the fray, to their respective sides. Already the hostile armies are beginning to muster: the one large, and increasing ; swelled by the accession, and hereafter to be swelled yet more, of trooping columns of apostates: the other small, diminishing, and to all appearance disadvantageously posted; with few resources, except such as are invisible. Soon may new scenes commence; and with the deepest feeling, more of solemnity than of fear, wé wait their issue.
(Continued from page 294.) XXIII. The
proper exercise of faith precedes the evidence of the senses. Faith is the evidence of things not seen. We may draw a distinction, in the conduct of the different women who anointed the body of our Lord. There were some who did so after his death. This may have been an act of kindness, of reverence, of affection ; but it was no act of faith. There was one woman, however, who anointed the Lord's body for his burial, before his death took place. She believed, then, that he was to die; and that, too, when our Lord's repeated assurances and predictions on this subject seem to have made little or no impression upon any one besides : so that she appears to have been the only individual amongst those about him, who had any distinct idea of his death before it took place. It would be well if, for the reproving and quickening of our own faith, we would contemplate this occurrence. The Lord attached much importance to her act: declared that it should be spoken of wherever his GOSPEL should be preached ; intimating, as it were, that the religious system, however specious, that overlooked such an extraordinary circumstance, would not have much of the Gospel in it, after all. Moreover, he himself said expressly, “ In that she hath poured this ointment on my body, she did it for my burial.” Here then we have faith; and Evangelical faith, Gospel faith ; for it was a faith that looked to the death of Christ. The women who anointed our Lord's body, after his death had taken place according to his predictions, do not appear to have believed in his resurrection even then. But she who anointed him while yet living, and sitting in the house of Simon the leper, made, by this act, a public declaration of her belief. And the care with which she had kept the ointment for the occasion, or treasured up the cost of it, shewed how that precious word of the Lord, neglected by all the rest,—that he was to die for our sins, that he was “to give his life a ransom for many,”—had been treasured up in her heart : while her breaking the box shews how those who have a particular belief in that word, the word of life by the death of Christ, are made willing to give for his cause-reserving nothing.
XXIV. After our Lord's temptation in the wilderness, the devil “ departed from him for a season.” The time of our Lord's final trial, at his crucifixion, seems to have been that of Satan's return, to renew his assaults: for, as that time approached, we find our Lord saying, “ the prince of this world cometh ;" as if the enemy, who had departed before, now came again. Thus