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they come forward and protest against the errors of this time, as boldly as our fathers did against Popery.
Protestants truly! I marvel what it is that they protest against ! except it be against the efforts and protestations of us Bigots :-much as the Remonstrants in Holland did against the true and zealous Protestants in that country, and so made common cause with the Papists, who liked them very well, and (wherever they had influence) endeavoured to put Remonstrant preachers in the Reformed churches. In truth, these friends of the Papists, if you want a distinguishing name for them, may fitly be called Remonstrants. Their liberalism stamps them as belonging to that class, as well as many of the opinions which they hold.
Others do not like to be told that our country is unchristianized by Act of Parliament. I do not actually pretend to say that you are the author of the article on Ireland in which this is asserted, but certainly the writer is one of us; and I conclude that you, as a Bigot, hold the same opinion. Well, then, on this subject too I have a few thoughts at your service.
The Popish Bill, considered as an Act of the British Legislature, is an annulling of our national protest against Popery. The Constitution of 1688 declared and maintained, that Popery is a system so corrupt and abominable, such a mystery of oppression and deceit, that no Papist can be trusted to hold any office in the government or legislature of a Protestant country. This was the spirit of the Protestant constitution then established. This was implied in its very nature, and in all its provisions. A more plain and direct, but not a stronger, protest against Popery, was contained in the Oath and Declaration taken and made by every member of the legislature. All this is now done away. The protest may be made by individuals, but the national protest is altogether withdrawn; and, on the contrary, it is solemnly declared that a Papist is as fit and competent to govern and legislate for this once Christian country, as a Protestant. With one or two vain and unmeaning exceptions-just enough to testify to all the world that the framers of the Act knew they were doing wrong, but not enough to serve any good purpose—every office of trust and responsibility and authority is thrown open to the Papists: and there is no security against their using that power to establish their own apostate and domineering church upon the ruins of Protestantism, except an oath, which, according to the authoritative declaration of their church, is altogether null and void-yea, which they are perjured in taking. So that Protestantism and Popery, Christ and Antichrist, are set together upon the seat of authority and government! And what is this, virtually, but an utter rejection of Christ? for He must have supreme dominion, or none at all. There can be no concord between Christ and Belial, any more than we can serve at once both God and mammon: if we attempt to serve both, we reject God altogether; if we seek to bring about any such concord, we renounce Christ utterly. So that, with this abominable Act, the nation (as speaking by its supreme legislature) has ceased 10 protest against Popery: it is therefore no longer Protestant. And if it be no longer Protestant, it cannot, so long as Antichrist exists and reigns, be Christian either, in the judgment of any true disciple of our pious Reformers. A Christian church or nation, as a plain point of Christian duty, must not only embrace and profess the truth, but renounce and protest against antichristian and idolatrous errors, even as every Christian in baptism renounces the world, the flesh, and the devil. But this Act not only tolerates the Papists : it unites with and approves them; it gives them power, authority, and honour, and affords them every facility for demanding and obtaining more.
Yet further: let it be observed, that the late Act, while it allows a Papist to be a member of the Government, effectually precludes a true Protestant from being so. A Papist may be a member of the cabinet, and, in full accordance with the principles of his church, may pursue any line of conduct which he VOL. III.-NO. IV.
Q. E. D.
considers suited to promote the interests of that church. But a Protestant cannot act there, as an honest and consistent Protestant. I do not hereby mean to say, that he cannot, as to his private convictions, be a Christian, and a Protestant: but he cannot act as such in the government; he cannot speak as such in the cabinet; he cannot protest against Popery : for then you would have a divided cabinet again, and one of the King's ministers openly and continually insulting and condemning another. According to the spirit and natural operation of the Act, no Protestant can hold any situation or office in the government who is not willing to unite with Papists, and give them the right hand of fellowship. That is to say, power and authority in the State are, from this time forward, only open to such Protestants as are no Protestants at all; while they are fully open to Papists of the worst and most dangerous sort! I affirm, then, that with this awful Act the nation has ceased to be Protestant; that it has become popish and antichristian ; that our country is unchristianized by Act of Parliament !
“Such, then, being the nature and character of the measure, shall British Protestants, can British Christians, connive at it and acquiesce in it? Are we not in duty bound to lift up our voices in solemn protest against it? Shall it stand upon record to future ages, that, such an Act being passed, the Protestants of Great Britain quietly consented to it, and so made it their own? This would amount, indeed, to a public and national rejection of God and His Anointed : and would not God require it at our hands?
“Who, then, will lift up their voices against it? Who are engaged in preparing petitions, plain and decided, for the repeal of the late Act, and of all the Acts which have been passed in favour of the Papists, from the first fatal and foolish concessions in 1778 to the present year inclusive ? Who are determined that the voice of true Protestants shall yet be heard ? I have been long revolving this matter in my mind; and, when I have drawn up my petition, I shall lose no time in sending you a copy. I trust you will find it such as might reasonably be expected from an old-fashioned Protestant, a zealous Churchman, and
A BROTHER BIGOT." As to what my much-esteemed and bigoted Brother observes respecting Protestants who favour the Papists, intimating that in his opinion they omit to protest, I must inform him that there are some amongst them who protest against the doctrines of Popery very loudly; but not loud enough to make any alteration in the opinion already expressed concerning them, by
THE BIGOT.NO. VI.
On “the simple Exhibition of Truth.” My bigotry has the natural effect, of leading me to abhor many things which other people approve; and to suspect evil in many things, wherein others apprehend no harm. Accordingly, I have a great suspicion of current phrases. False principles prevail on all sides : and these current phrases are their circulating medium. But, if the phrase be clothed in the dialect now coming into use, to the exclusion of the English language, my bigotry is roused to tenfold suspicion. Men are such rogues in these days, that they shrink from the use of our old Saxon English ; because, if conveyed in this, an idea is expressed. But they, when they converse, do not want to express their ideas, but to wrap them up. Hence they employ by preference the modern dialect; which is of great use to qualify a bad meaning, to set off a foolish meaning, to hide a want of meaning, to convey a tricky meaning, and also to conceal the true meaning ; so as fully to make good the apophthegm of the Frenchman, who said that the use of the eight parts of speech is, to conceal our thoughtş.
Now that phrase, “the expulsive power of a new affection;"-I hardly know what to make of it. I doubt it means more harm than good.-For what is the principle? These modern phrases, I say, are used to communicate false principles. I know there is a false principle very generally circulating, and it is this : that when a person is openly depraved and irreligious, we have merely to give him a better direction : this is all that is necessary: he needs no change of nature or of heart : only give him a better direction, and all will be right. Then comes in “ the expulsive power of a new affection :” the popgun power of some new passion is to drive out those by which he is at present influenced, just as one pellet drives out another ; nothing further is wanted ; and all will then be right.
Now I, a Bigot, have a strong suspicion, that thus to use the phrase, and so I have heard it used, is only one way of telling a lie. A change of some sort does certainly take place. But then it is only such a change as is constantly taking place in worldly persons, without religion's having any thing to do with the matter : for example, when an idle person becomes covetous, and in consequence active and industrious, his covetousness driving out his idleness : which is merely a natural process, leaving his soul as far from salvation as it was before; or, at the utmost, one devil driving out another. Therefore it is a particularly heinous offence when this phrase is used by religious professors, in speaking upon religious subjects. The old-fashioned way of speaking of a person really made a believer, was, that he was converted. But now men exclaim—their eyes rolling as if they would turn round in their sockets—“ a remarkable instance of the expulsive power of a new affection !” Remarkable it may be; but if that is all, I am afraid that he is just where he was, and that those who think it sufficient are not far from him.
But now for another phrase : “ the simple exhibition of truth." This, perhaps, has not yet become quite so current as the other ; but it threatens to do so, and therefore it is high time for a Bigot to protest against it. The way of using it is this; a plausible one, certainly. “ You clergymen have nothing to do with controversy, in the pulpit. Why not avoid doubtful questions? Steer clear of all such subjects. Above all, have nothing to do with prophecy. Stick to your texts, and be satisfied with a simple exhibition of the truth.'”
Now I, a Bigot, in reasoning with an opponent, for the most part hate to make concessions, because they savour of modern candour and liberality, which are unprincipled and base things. But let me just state what I concede to this phrase, to prevent being misunderstood. I concede, then, that preachers are to avoid ambitious ornament; that they are not to aim at the preaching of self ; that they are not to go off into vain discussions, which turn 'men from the main point. In these, and perhaps in some other senses, I grant, that they are to aim at “ the simple exhibition of truth.”
But Satan will sometimes contrive to get a maxim into circulation, obtain currency for it, and give it a meaning afterwards. By such hellish alchemy, this phrase, which had originally something plausible in it, is now little better than one of Satan's lies. It comes just to this ;' that we are to state the truth, and let error alone; as abominable a principle for pulpit instructions, as ever was recommended. Aim at “ the simple exhibition of truth.” That is, first, do not press the truth too strongly home; be contented with simply exhibiting it; it is so very beautiful, truth, you have only to display it in its native excellence, and all will love it, for its own sake: secondly, be not too vehement in denouncing error. These principles have been received and acted upon; and what are the consequences at this very moment?
First, look, I pray you, into the world at large. Here, all is going wrong. All sorts of errors in sentiment are manifesting themselves by all sorts of iniquities in practice. Public principle we have NONE : and hence public integrity, or rather public decency in maintaining some little shew of integrity, is rapidly on the decline. All this, upon the system of adhering to “the simple exhibition of truth,”-i.e. of not interfering,—the pulpit, High church and Evangelical, in a great measure lets alone. Hence Satan is taking his full swing through the land, no mortal interposing; and is rapidly profiting by his advantage, to sow on all sides, with an hundred hands, vice, impurity, profaneness, popery, and misery, in an open field. Meanwhile the preacher goes on, from Sunday to Sunday, with his “ simple exhibition of truth.”
Next, consider the religious world. Here, religious errors of the most fatal kind are shewing themselves in rank abundance, and spreading unopposed, on all sides. I say, Now, even now. It is a remark. able feature of the church in the present day, that such fatal errors are shooting up on all sides in the midst of us, and that no one comes forward to check them. What! Is nobody aware of what is going on ? Are all our good men asleep? Oh, no. They are all wide awake. They are all alive. They are all at their posts. They are all occupied, with all their might, in “ the simple exhibition of truth.”
What then can we look for in particular congregations, so far as this is the case, but--DEATH ? All is tame. We come to this at last, that the people shall agree to it, let the pastor say what he will : and let me be permitted to observe, that may be a very bad state for a people, when they agree to all their minister says. Where the whole congregation, good, bad, and indifferent, go on agreeing to the whole truth as it is set before them, yet go on without improving, the minister may have little substantial cause for satisfaction. This may be a very different thing from true peace; a very different thing from a true harmony and union in the Gospel verity. The fock has its errors and its sins: the pastor goes on preaching the truth : the truth is praised : but the sins and errors are not surrendered. And why? It never comes to that. The truth and the error are never brought fairly into conflict. Sin is not assailed in its strong holds. The hearers grant all that they hear to be very good, but never dream that it is meant for them. No more it is. All such meaning is disclaimed upon principle. All the preacher's object is “the simple exhibition of truth."
Has the worst been spoken ? I fear not. For in cases where every thing is brought to this simple exhibition,” there still will remain a question, whether the truth is really exhibited after all. It is a question for every preacher to ask himself, whether he really does this. But where a person reduces all to that one point, I am bigoted enough to suspect peculiar causes of failure in the execution.
“ Why, really, I do wish to exhibit the truth, and the whole truth: but then I must confess, that I wish to avoid crude statements : I have a particular objection to any thing crude."
Now this brings us to the point. What sort of statements are those which we now call crude? Any plain, unqualified, scriptural statement of a scriptural truth, without explanation, or in other words with out explaining away, it is now very much the fashion, with a very knowing look, to call crude. Let a man give such a plain, straightforward statement, adding no qualification, on the subject of the inspiration of Scripture, justification, adoption, assurance, simple faith in Christ, regeneration, predestination, election, the absolute necessity of obedience and submission to God, or any other cardinal doctrine of the Gospel, and there is a: very great probability that it will be set
rude.-1 the end is, that truth is not simply exhibited at all. We reduce the whole to this, that such a simple exhibition is to be made; but the fear of crudeness interposes, and it is not made. For the sake of this simple exhibition, all is omitted besides, and then the exhibition does not take place! Thus Satan gains his end; and while carrying on his work, as now he is, upon a gigantic scale, contrives to neutralize the resistance, which the preached word ought to oppose to his progress. The “ exhibition " and his works do not interfere with one another. The “exhibition " goes on, and his works
He sees before him an open field, and not an adversary to resist him.
In pointing out these evils, I denounce no other errors as prevalent around me, than such as I am conscious of in myself: and, though bigotry is no excuse for pretending to dive into the motives of others, I hope I may lay open my own. For I also have been much inclined, formerly, to the “ simple exhibition;" or I might not now be able to say so much harm of it: and this I know, that my own motives were of such a kind, that no plan of conduct which they could lead me to adopt was likely to do much good. I know that such things as these entered into my own case, when disposed to limit all to the “ simple exhibition.” There were loose views of the evil of sin. There was want of due concern for souls about to perish. There was a laxity of doctrinal principles. There was sloth, there was false tenderness, there was false
go on too.