« VorigeDoorgaan »
city and exactness, which can have no motive of human respect or profane interest;-all this has united to overpower prodigiously the prejudices of Protestants, and to multiply the conversions, which, throughout the diocese, but especially in Baltimore, have restored to the Church a large number of her lost children. Many belong to the most respectable families of the country; many exercise the most honorable professions in a distinguished manner; others hold high offices, either in the administration, or in the army. A still greater number, convinced internally, satisfy themselves with avowing their conviction, but either through indifference, or some other motive equally deplorable, put off their return to the religion of their fa
The other extract promised in this number is from a letter of the Archbishop to the Editor of the "Annales," dated January 28, 1830. Our assemblies," says he, referring to the Council, of which we have given the detailed account, "had in them something so imposing, that three eminent lawyers, who were at one time admitted, in order to give their opinions on some points relative to the civil laws of this country, came out filled with respect and astonishment : 'We have,' said they afterward, appeared before very dignified courts of justice; but never have we had less assurance, and experienced less confidence in ourselves, than when we had entered this august assembly.'
"Among the subjects, on which the meeting of the North American Bishops has furnished the greatest light, is the Catholic population of these vast countries. From the calculations that have been made it results, that the number of Catholics in the United States is more than 500,000 and daily increasing, either by emigrations or conversions. Great, however, as is this number, in itself considered, it is small as regards the whole population, which is almost ten millions, and divided into an infinity of different sects. We have this firm hope in the Lord, that conversions to the true Faith, which already are frequent, will become more and more numerous. We have now four Catholic journals, in which the principles and doctrines of the Church are defended: these are The Metropolitan, at Baltimore; The Jesuit, at Boston; The Catholic, at Hartford; and The Miscellany, at Charleston."*
We forbear extending these extracts. Enough has now appeared to exhibit, in their own words, a vigilant hierarchy completely organized among us ;† their minute attention to every variation in the state
*Annales," etc. Num. xx. April, 1880, pp. 222–244.
A writer in Europe, so long ago as 1821, asserted and reasoned as follows: "I take it for granted that spiritual subjection to a fellow creature necessarily implies temporal subjection; and I defy all the world to show the contrary. Now the Pope has actually begun to exercise spiritual supremacy in the United States. By his own sole authority, he detaches the two Carolinas and Georgia from the see of Baltimore, and he gives these States to Dr. England, late of Cork, to be subject to him in all things spiritual, as he is subject to the
of our country, particularly its religious state; pretensions the most extravagant; prelates and priests of insinuating address, wary, supple, and affectionate in language, while laboring to proselyte, but inflexibly attached to the aspiring views and arrogant claims of the Court of Rome. The feelings of "pontiff pride and pontiff gall" have been developed in the declaration, not of a Pope in remote ages of lay-ignorance and uncontrolled clerical domination; but of one living in this very century-showing what that church would de if she could. And who, then, shall trust her? Shall our shores be inundated with foreign Jesuits, the Katharmata of France, and of indignant Europe? But, say some, they have changed with the times. As the patriot minister, De Malesherbes, assured Lafayette, we say, no such thing! They vary their conduct, their professions, and all their language, indeed, as circumstances require-but never their object and that is THE SUPREMACY OF PAPAL ROME, to which all this "half million" is spiritually subject.
It becomes THE FRIENDS OF EDUCATION among us, who are yet Protestants, to look well to that great concern. The Romanists regard it with the greatest avidity-and not without reason. Let the West be speedily supplied. There, the conflict of opinions is to be witnessed. The East is indoctrinated, in some good degree-but former influence priests, not as yet forgotten, and claims resuscitated anew, and plausible representations and professions may yet, in our new country of the West, lead away millions.
The Lord pour out His Spirit, revive His work, bring His people to their posts and to the performance of their duty, and show His grace in saving us with an everlasting salvation!
Pope himself. It is certified that this Dr. England has taken the oath of fealty to the Pope, which, as I showed, is also an oath to persecute and fight against all heretics :-and does any man imagine, that when the queetion shall come to be, whether he, or such as he, shall be loyal to the Pope or to the President, the latter will have any chance of such a one standing by him, or by the free constitution of the United States? If the Americans were wise, they would keep a watchful eye over those divisions of their territory, for the purpose of spiritual jurisdiction; for they may depend upon it, that temporal jurisdiction is intended to follow and will follow by degrees; for no Papist will refuse to apply all the strength of his body to effect what the priest tells him is for the good of his soul."-See a series of valuable Essays, called "The Protestant,' published at Edinburg, 1818—— 1822. vol. iv. p. 150.
*See Letters from the Pope &c. to Rev. Messrs. Harold and Ryan, published in the U. S. Catholic Miscellany, at Charleston, 14, 1830.
It is said the Croup, one of the most dangerous and rapid of diseases, may be effectually checked by the external application to the throat of equal parts of camphor, spirits of wine and hartshorn, well mixed together.
PRESENT SITUATION OF PROTESTANTS IN FRANCE.
Translated from the "Archives du Christianisme," for September.
A new era has commenced for France in general, and for Protestant France in particular; new hopes are presented to our churches, new duties are imposed upon them. It is a subject we propose treating successively in all its aspects; we confine ourselves at present to some general reflections. The Roman Catholic religion is still that of the majority of the French, if we are to credit the new Charter; but what will be, in a half a century, the religion of the majority of the French? Will the declaration in the new article (6th) remain long true. We know not, and it is not what ought to occupy us at this time; our own position, and our own duties as disciples of Jesus Christ, at present command all our attention The revolution which has just occurred, has placed religious liberty among realities. It opens a wide door for evangelical preaching in all our towns, in all our villages; the ill-will of a mayor or of a procurator of the king, will no longer suffice to dissolve religious assemblies, or to cause tribunals to pass condemnation on inoffensive men, guilty of having met together in numbers exceeding twenty, to read the Bible and to sing the praises of God. No longer shall a priest, aided by law and supported by civil authority, attempt to dissolve meetings for worship that belong not to his church. Wherever authority shall be found, the Gospel can be publicly and freely proclaimed-the Bible distributed without restraint, among Catholics as among Protestants-primary instruction no longer opposed. Grand obstacles to the progress of the Gospel are thus overthrown; the point is now for the evangelical church to profit by this position of things, with fidelity and zeal, as well as with prudence and charity; the barrier which shut the entrance to the field is broken down; the duty now is, to sow, to water, and to beg the increase of God, who alone can give it. Let us not however, be unjust, nor regardless of what the government that has just fallen, has done for our churches; let us not forget the numbers of repaired or new temples constructed during the last fifteen years, nor of the many new openings made for pastors, nor of the very important progress our churches have been able to make under that government.-We cite facts, we refer not to motives and intentions. But on the other hand what intrigues have we had to detect, what conflicts to sustain, what gloomy and continued vexations to endure, what hostile trials to bear? Suffice to mention the names of Nerac, Anieres, Sainte-Consorce, and the law suits in behalf of religion. Article 5th is impious in the eyes of our ultramontanes; as they have said and repeated in their journals. The enmity, too, which they bore in their hearts to the Protestant religion, manifested itself more and more, in proportion as their power extended; and if the ordinances of the 25th of July had been executed, an active persecution, however disguised in the begin ning, would infallibly have been organized against our churches,
and God alone knows where it would have ended, when they found themselves sufficiently strong to throw off the mask of hypocrisy. This is no misrepresentation.
We know that, after having had to combat with superstition and hypocrisy, we shall have to encounter, in our attempts to spread the Gospel, a new and formidable adversary, infidelity; but it is better to fight with unbelief than hypocrisy; because we better know on what ground we stand. We are still afflicted and alarmed for the future destiny of France, when we consider, that after a revolution, in which the hand of God has been plainly manifested, after a deliverance so sudden and so signal, there has not appeared in the journals which boast of this great and unlooked for event, nor in the addresses presented to the throne, nor in the Chambers, nor, in fine, through any of the organs of public opinion, any sense of obligation to God the author of their deliverance, and acknowledgment of Divine favor, any expression of gratitude, or any proof that they confide on a higher power than this sublunary world affords. It seems as if they feared to utter the name of God at this memorable crisis, and that the idea of a Providence, which rules and governs every event on earth, is unknown to all those who have concurred to overthrow the empire of superstition and fanaticism, and who, in various, ways, may be considered as the representatives of the sentiment of this nation. There is in this fact, we repeat a manifestation as sorrowful as appalling of the religious indifference, to say nothing more, which characterizes the present generation of our countrymen. There is not perhaps in the whole world another people, who, under similar circumstances, would have presented such a spectacle. To subdue this sad disposition of heart and mind, there is but one weapon, the Gospel; the Gospel in its purity, majesty, and divine simplicity, the entire Gospel, such as a God of mercy has given to our fallen and condemned race, to raise and save it. We should propose to ourselves like Saint Paul, "not to know any thing among men, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified." It is the preaching of the cross that has regenerated and saved every man's soul that has been regenerated and saved during the last eighteen centuries; the preaching of the cross can alone regenerate, and save the present generation. This preaching we know is "foolishness" to one class, and "a stumblingblock" to another; but it is "the power of God, and the wisdom of God unto salvation to every one that believeth." Our speech and our preaching should not be with the enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith should not stand in the wisdom of me, but in the power of God." The Gospel must not be moulded to the people, but the people to the Gospel.It is not, as says one of our most faithful preachers, that "God is to conform himself to man, but man is to conform himself to God." What a new and extensive career opens to our pastors, to our religious societies, to our Protestant journals, to every one who has at heart the spread of the Gospel and the safety of his fellow creatures. God expects that each one, in the sphere of action which he has allotted him, should faithfully, christianly, and courageously fulfil the vast and
responsible duties imposed on him. God turns the total overthrow of political parties to the increase and establishment of the kingdom of grace, and of a living faith in Jesus Christ, "for there is none other name under heaven given amongst men whereby we must be saved." Acts iv 12.-N. Y. Observer.
There are some people, who profess to have a full assurance of their salvation. Without entering into a long and tedious course of reasoning on this subject, it is a sufficient confutation of this doctrine,. to make it appear, that it is perfectly unscriptural. The scriptures contain no unconditional declaration, that mine, or any other man's sins, are forgiven. It therefore cannot be termed a divine faith; for its objects are not revealed in the scriptures. I may believe it, as a matter of my own experience; but then it is a knowledge, derived from my own imperfect experience, which may possibly deceive me; and not a conviction, founded upon a divine communication, which alone is infallible. I do not say, that there is no person that can say, I have every reason to believe that my sins are forgiven me: but I do say, that no person can say, I am perfectly assured of my salvation. The scriptures authorize no such bold and presumptuous declaration; and no individual, however perfect, can have this full assurance, because the best christians may fall from a justified state, and by that means, be finally and totally lost.
St. Paul never considered himself authorised to believe, that his salvation was perfectly secure. He never had this full assurance, which modern enthusiasts so often pretend. After having escaped from so many dangers, surmounted so many difficulties, and overcome so many temptations, he felt himself constrained to declare, "not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect, but I follow after it; I count not myself to have apprehended, I press toward the mark." He never considered those, whom he had been the means of converting, as free from every danger of falling from grace. He constantly exhorts them "to stand fast in the faith," alleging, that "if after they have once escaped the pollutions of the world, through the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse than the beginning." He tells them, that "it had been better for them, never to have known the ways of righteousness, than after to have known them, to turn away from the holy commandment." He exhorts the Romans, "who were engrafted in and partook of the root and the fatness of the olive tree, not to be high minded, but constantly in fear, least they should be broken off." He accuses the Galatians, "who had put on Christ-received the spirit of adoption," and "ran well" of being soon removed from him who had called them." He encourages the Hebrews, "to hold the beginning of their confidence steadfast unto the end," assuring them, "that it was impossible