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this county, was chartered as a College, by the last Legislature of Maryland.-Editor.
There is danger to be apprehended from the diffusion and ascendancy of Popish principles.
"A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump." This is emphatically verified in these cases, where there is a peculiar appetency and adaptation in the mass, to receive the contagion, and where the leaven so infused, is peculiarly active and insinuating-in this case, both these circumstances combine to favor the diffusion of the baneful virus of Romanism.
What? in a Protestant country, the land of light? Impossible, it is said, that the stupid errors and blind superstitions of Popery can be entertained among enlightened people!
If the objection means merely intellectual light, the argument is Hull, for it is notorious, that men possessed of the highest intellectual powers, have lived and died in an avowed belief of the ridiculous tenets, and in the idolatrous practices of Rome. What does this prove? That the light in these Popish literati is darkness, and that there is no absurdity too monstrous for men to credit, so long as they reject or slight God's word, and neglect to seek the teaching of his Holy Spirit. "The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God-for the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them that believe not, lest the light of the glorious Gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them."
Though men of high intellectual attainments do profess to hold the absurdities of Romanism, it contributes nothing to the support of Popery but it is an argument of great weight against those, who would persuade us, that the march of intellect will secure us against Papal encroachments.
The highest intellectual refinement will combine with the grossest superstition. This was abundantly evinced by the philosophers of Greece and Rome; who, with all their science and knowledge, yielded to the popular superstitions and idolatry; "professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God, into an image made like to corruptible man."
Is it urged that some of the more enlightened Heathens did not believe the pop ular idolatries, but only connived at them, as a useful engine of state policy? Perhaps, also, some of the more intellectual disciples of Popery may not believe its absurd dogmas, nor join sincerely and ex animo, in her superstitious rites; but only sanction them out of worldly policy. But does this alleged incredulity of some of Rom e's sons afford us any security that they will not propagate her princ iples? On the contrary, is there not cause to apprehend, that the number of these Infidel Romish partizans may be recruited from the ranks of nominal Protestants? Are there not many disciples of lauman reason in our land, at present numbered among Protestants, who are far from being vitally impressed with the truth of the Christian religion? And may it not be apprehended, that whenever it seemed that the Roman system presented an effective
system of machinery for state purposes, a position, which to a carnal mind is very plausible, they would be prepared to adopt it?
What matters it, to a man of no religion, what are the forms of belief? That which will most effectually answer the ends and purposes of human policy is best to him; especially, if it will least incommode him in his career of impiety, and will serve best to reconcile a life of sin, with the hope of escaping eternal misery.
Is there not therefore cause to fear, that if Romanism were backed with power, as it is in Maryland, very many of the disciples of human reason, instead of being shocked at the Papal absurdities, would go over to that interest, regarding it as the most useful engine of carnal policy, and as presenting the most promising field for sowing the seed of infidel principles. Is this hypothesis, or history?
Human reason and intellectual light alone, constitute not a safeguard against the errors of Popery. They are treacherous allies to the cause of spiritual and vital Christianity, and which will assuredly join the ranks of irreligion in the hour of trial!
But the prevalence of religious knowledge and gospel light, is our defence against the incursions of Popery! If all Protestants were sound, this would indeed constitute a powerful security. But if all Protestants were sincere, a compromise or coalition with Popery would not for a moment be contemplated, for it is the very essence of Protestantism to protest against all compacts and combinations with Popery. If the great body of the Reformed churches in this land were really what they profess, there would be little reason to fear the spread of Popery-but a great many nominal Protestants are already more than half Papists.
The tenets of Romanism are precisely adapted to the bias and disposition of our fallen, corrupt nature; and consequently every individual, in his natural, unrenewed state, prefers the soothing self-flattering doctrines of Popery before the self-abasing principles of true Protestantism.
If we contrast Protestantism with Popery in a few leading principles, we shall be convinced that the latter is the most palatable to human nature. How deep rooted is that self-righteous principle, which prompts men to entertain the idea that they can deserve the favor of God by their own works, or that, if a claim of absolute right to sal vation by their own merits cannot be established, they can plead comparative goodness-that they are less guilty than others; that their sins are less numerous or less heinous; or that they can atone for them by repentance and amendment, by attendance on religious ordinances, and alms-deeds. Every person acquainted with the human heart, knows that such are the principles to which it naturally inclines, and that myriads of nominal Protestants hold these sentiments, so totally repugnant to the Gospel.
Is this Protestantism? is this the religion of the Reformation, founded on the word of God? are these the principles for which Luther wrestled, and for which Latimer and Ridley bled? Far from it..
The great fundamental principle of Protestantism is salvation wholly of grace justification by faith, to the exclusion of all merit in
works, either absolute or comparative. Are those who cherish selfrighteous views in heart, true Protestants? Or can we reckon upon their inflexible adherence to a system, which is grounded essentially upon principles which they hate and disclaim?
STATIONS FOR AURICULAR CONFESSION.
The ensuing narrative, extracted from the Glasgow Protestant, furnishes a genuine portraiture of Popery in its Irish modernized most amiable features.
Living some years ago in a small town in the south of Ireland, and being intimately acquainted with the parish priest, and with others, both priests and laity, of the Papist communion, I could not be unacquainted with many of their practices, and their system of worship. As some of your readers are not acquainted with many circumstances relative to the system of Popery in Ireland, I shall give you some account of those things they call Stations for Confessing.
It was formerly the custom, at whatever house these stations were held, to require that a dinner be provided for the priest: and as the host would not set the priest down by himself, it was always the practice to invite fifteen or twenty of the neighbouring farmers, and their wives, who were expected to attend at confession, and who would ask them in return. I have frequently seen purchased for these occasions, meat, several gallons of whiskey, &c., and always a bottle of wine for the priest's own drinking. This, you will say, was paying pretty well for the honour of his company: but this was not all; there was a tax of five shillings on the landlord for saying the mass, who was made to believe that a temporal and spiritual blessing would follow. Besides this, it was expected that each confessed person would pay something for absolution.-For causes best known to themselves, these dinner parties were, of late years, changed for breakfasts; which were more convenient for the priests, as he had to return home, when these stations were held in the country, perhaps some miles, and he might not so clearly see his way. Some simple people have said, that they were changed to do away those drunken revels which always followed these dinners; but this was not the case, as the following facts will show. I lived opposite to an industrious couple of the Romish religion, the man a cooper by trade, and his was one of those houses set down in the priest's book for a station, for the priests like to follow industry, hoping to partake more largely of those temporal blessings which may rationally be expected from it: I had, therefore, frequent opportunities of observing the effects of station confessions at this man's house. I have seen some of the company invited come out quite intoxicated; and on asking how they could get so beastly drunk, they stammered out that they were only at a station.
As the priest is seldom ready before twelve o'clock, these breakfasts usually commence about that time. The bill of fare is as fok
lows: tea, a hot griddle cake, butter, eggs, &c. &c., with decanters of whiskey, placed on the breakfast-table: and as the Irish have a great affection for the native, as they call whiskey, these decanters are frequently replenished, and the feast prolonged for the remainder of the day. It may be said that this is an unfair construction put upon the society of fifteen or twenty persons, invited to meet the priest at a station breakfast; that although some may outstep the limits of sobriety, the rest should not be charged with it: that these poor souls, for aught I knew, were, after pardon received from the priest, making pious resolutions of future amendment-laying down plans for moralizing their relatives and acquaintances--or devising how they may promote the moral and religious education of the rising generation, by the introduction of the Bible into schools, as the great and only fountain of divine revelation to man; showing him his lost estate both by nature and practice, and the necessity of coming to God for real pardon, peace, and holiness; and that at all events, surely their drinking bouts could not be fairly charged upon the priest. Whoever argues thus, does not know what Popery is. How sure its doctrines lead to licentiouness; how cruel and intolerant are its principles; and how much opposed to every effort to promote the moral and religious education of the poor children in its communion, I shall hereafter show. Indeed, with them the proverb, that "Ignorance is the mother of devotion," is held as true, and more current, than any of the Proverbs of Solomon.
The writer was present at the settlement of an account with the spirit-dealer for the whisky drank at but one breakfast station for confession, at his opposite neighbour's house, where the whole company, men, women and children, could not have exceeded twenty-four persons; when the bill, admitted to be correct and paid for, was seven half gallons of whiskey, at sixteen shillings per gallon; a liquor considerably stronger than either brandy or rum. It may be objected, that this was too particular a case to be taken for a general rule; and that the master of the house might be a very dissipated character himself, and have been too pressing with his guests. With regard to this man's general character, he passed among his neighbors for an industrious sober man, in general: and as to his character with the priest, I assure you that both he and his wife were in several holy orders, as they are called in Ireland. So that taking this man's character, I am convinced that I take a standard much too high as an example of the good effects following confession stations; for were I to select those stations which are held at publicans? houses, it would far exceed what I have detailed.
It is the practice for the priest to publish from the altar, at certain periods of the year-I believe before Christmas, and before Lent— that he will hold stations for confession at certain houses, then and there named. These houses are selected without previous liberty ob. tained from the owners, perhaps lest they may make objections, which many of them would most certainly do, if not thus publickly given out from the altar. The individuals thus selected make the necessary preparations, and as it has been a prevailing opinion from the
time of the Jews, that the publicans were the greatest sinners, and consequently required most amending, I have observed that they are most frequently selected: nay, I have observed that those who have most business are particularly selected by the Priest; it being reasonable to suppose, that the chief amongst the publicans must be chief amongst the sinners. As the liquor on these occasions is drawn from the cock, it is not so easy to calculate the expenditure; but as they ask their best customers, it would be natural to believe that the landlord is not backward in recommending his liquor, nor his guests in trying its strength, not having the usual reckoning to pay, and having previously quit scores with the priest. As it may be alleged that the priest does not countenance these practices, I shall mention a fact. A female, invited to one of these confessional coteries, mentioned to some others how very polite the priest was at breakfast to the women, pressing the bashful ones to take whiskey in their tea. "Faith," says her husband, "it was very easy to prevail on them to take it, and for him to offer what was not out of his own pocket." The wife replied, "You dare not tell him so at your next confession."
Thus you may see, Sir, how much the moral principle is degraded by such a system, and even by the priests; a system which holds out to its deluded followers a yearly, or half-yearly, acquittal for sin. Well may that truth, applied by our Saviour to the Scribes and Pharisees, be applied to them: "Ye encompass sea and land to gain one proselyte; and when ye have gained him, ye make him twofold more a child of the devil.”—The Protestant of February 6.
THE CHARACTER OF THE LION VINDICATED.
As the Lion is mentioned so frequent in the Bible, a brief account of this noble animal may not be deemed inconsistent with the religious character of the Recorder, more particularly, as it may be interesting to many of its readers. Every one knows who has read the Bible, that Samson tore a lion to pieces with his hands,-that David killed one; and Benaiah slew a lion in a pit. That a lion killed the man of God from Judah, who prophesied the ruin of the idolatrous altar at Bethel, and, contrary to nature, spared his ass. That Daniel was cast into a den of lions, but received no harm. The heathen persecutors often exposed the Christians to be torn by lions. The church is likened to a lion strengthened of God; she overcomes, and is terrible to all that oppose her. Her ministers, especially in the primitive ages, were like lions, bold, courageous, and active in their work, and conquered multitudes to Christ, and in numerous other instances is he mentioned. Passing on to a more modern account of him, he is said to be the terror of travellers in the regions where he abounds; able to bear off a buffalo on his back, and crush the skull of a horse by a single stroke of his paw. In physical strength he is indeed unequalled. He lives on animal food, and his organization fits him well for the destruction of animal life, regulated by a saga