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different, and become fit dupes for an artful priesthood to work upon, let their doctrines or their exactions be ever so gross.
The remaining part of this curious medley respects the sacraments (or mysteries) of the church; for such is the true meaning of the word; and they are said to be two, in opposition to the church of Rome, which says there are seven : but as the church of England has taken the liberty of lopping off five at one stroke, she cannot be displeased with me for cutting off only two, so that between us we have done the whole a way, and the scriptures will justify the act.
But as this catechism contains some curious particulars respecting the two they have retained, I shall make some remarks on them. It is asked, “ what is the inward and spiritual grace" of baptism? Answer. “ A death unto sin, and a new birth unto righteousness; for being by nature born in sin and the children of wrath, we are hereby made the children of grace. Wonderful sacrament indeed to work a compleat change in our nature instantaneously! Who would grudge to pay or worship the man who can administer it! Surely this article was written by a priest, and for a particular purpose ; for be it known, that in the church of England no one can administer a sacrament but a person in holy orders. Immediately a man is ordained by the bishop, though he was before a gamester, a fox-hunter, or a whore-master, he immediately attains the power, by sprinkling alittle water on another, to wash away all his sins-to remove from him the wrath of God, and give him a valid title to an inheritance in the kingdom of heaven.
Righteous God, can these things be ? and is it possible that thou didst commission the wise, the holy and benevolent Jesus, to teach such preposterous nonsense, and call it a religion from thee?
Question.“ Why was the sacrament of the Lord's Supper ordained ?" Answer. For the continual remembrance of the death of Christ, and of the benefits which we receive thereby." Ought they not to have added, and for a test to keep dissenters from profitable employments in the state? Again,“ what is the inward part or thing signified ?" Answer.
"The body and blood of Christ, which is verily and indeed taken by the faithful in the Lord's Supper;" add, and by excisemen, custom-house officers, military officers, common councilmen, aldermen, corporation men, ministers of state, &c. to qualify them for office. Could Jesus or his apostles command such things?
But this church cries out against the church of Rome for believing in transubstantiation! Let any any man judge with what reason, after teaching that,“the body and blood of Christ is. verily and indeed taken in the Lord's Supper;" for if thie body and blood of Christ is verily and indeed taken by every person who partakes of the consecrated bread and wine, each of them
must as necessarily eat their god as the Catholic believes that he eats his. It may be said that this assimilation of the church of England to the church of Rome is merely the old prejudice of dissenters, with whom it is natural to expect the defects of this church will be exceedingly magnified, and that seeing the established church has depicted the Romish in such glaring colours, having marked her absurdities and errors as the most
denounced the heaviest judgments of heaven against her as antichrist, the beast, the whore of Babylon, &c. the dissentors will be anxious to find a likeness between the two, for the purpose of shewing that what they have said of the church of Rome equally belongs to themselves. But to shew that this is not the case, we have the authority of Bishop Horsley, who has declared, " that they (the Roman Catholic priests) are our brethren, members of Christ, heirs of the promises; that they do indeed differ from us in certain points of doctrine, discipline, and external rites,” &c.
And a Royal Duke, according to the report of his speech in the Times newspaper, has fully justified the comparison between the two churches; for he is represented as saying, "that it appeared to him that the two churches of Rome and Eng. land so nearly resembled one another, that they should be considered as sisters of the same family. Although we have not the same number of sacraments as the Catholic church ; yet, with the exception of one, the forms of all the Catholic sacraments remain in our church. Auricular confession is even strongly recommended, although not held to be a sacrament. In our forms for the visitation of the sick, the doctrine of confession and absolution is copied, word for word, from the Catholic ritual. The organization ofour hierarchy was the same. We, like them, had a primate, archbishops, bishops, deacons, and prebendaries. The land was divided, as in Catholic countries, into parishes, each having a church; and we, like them, had our cathedrals, tithes, Easter dues, and fee offerings.
And this same Royal Duke, who could have no prejudice against the church of England, being himself a member of it, has confirmed the account I gave in my first letter of the origin of this church, and the motives that prompted Henry and his daughter Elizabeth to 'sanction and support it ; for he says, “King Henry the Eighth was not to be considered as quite disinterested at the time of the reformation, as it was well known that the principal cause which made him adverse to the Catholic religion was, that the pope would not consent to his divorce. Queen Elizabeth was nearly as much interested in the reformation, and as much embroiled with Catholics on personal considerations, as her father was.'
* Vide the speech of the Duke of Sussex, Times, April 22, 1812
If then I have proved that the creeds and catechism of this church are absurd, idolatrous, inconsistent, and unscripturalif it is true, as these men have said, that, there is such a bikeness between the church of England and the church of Rome that “they should be considered as sisters of the same family" -and if all the threatenings of the scriptures against antichrist belong, as the church of England declares they do, to the church of Rome-is it not the duty of every friend to real Christianity to withhold his support from such a church ? and does it not follow, that all the judgments denounced against the elder sister equally belong to the younger ? so that out of their own mouths are they condemned; for it is said (Rev. xiv. 9), “ if any man worship the beast and his image (his likeness), and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, the same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God.”
Now as all writers on this part of scripture in the established church have applied the term beast to the church of Rome, it will be well enquire what church is designated under the character of his image (or likeness). If they believe Bishop Horsley, or the Royal Duke, it will not be difficult to determine; and ifthat determination points to the church of England, it will be wise to attend the call given (Rev. xiv. 4,5) “ come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues ; for. her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities.” But let it be remembered that these judg. ments are to be inflicted by God, and form no argument for political governors to interfere and lay restrictions upon others, whether Catholics or Protestants; for a greater presumption cannot exist, than that of any man, or set of men, taking upon them to dictate to others in points of religion : neither should it lessen our benevolence towards our erring fellow-creatures, but rather excite our compassion and our earnest endeavours, by reason and argument, to convince them of their errors and lead them to the knowledge of the truth as it is in. Jesus.
I had intended to have gone farther into the examination of the doctrines and practices of the church of England ; but what I have said, and the admission of the Royal Duke, makes it in my opinion unnecessary; for as all who call themselves Protestants readily admit the folly and iniquity of the church of Rome, proof being given of any other church being like her, and one of the same family, must be sufficient to make it an object of equal abhorrence and execration.
With a sincere wish for the destruction of error, and the establishment of truth, I remain
A FRIEND TO TRUE RELIGION.
ON THE CHARACTER OF MOSES.
To the Editor of the Freethinking Christians' Magazine.
WHEN you look at the signature of this article, you will
naturally suspect some fraud ; none however is intendo ed. It is true, I am a Deist; but I hope an honourable one: I am sure at least, that I prefer open and avowed hostility to private assassination. The Roman meets his enemy in the field; it is the cowardly Indian that has recourse to treachery and the scalping-knife. A correspondent in your April Magazine
has discovered an argument against revelation, in the book of Numbers. I mean to show this gentleman, that his argument, if he rest upon it, will sink under him. It would have been but candid perhaps to have acknowledged, that he copied it, word for word, out of Mr. Paine's book, but no matter. Methinks I see the reader smile: how! Saul among the prophets ! What ! a Deist stepping forward to turn aside the shafts of infidelity! the shield of an adversary covering and protecting the sacred ark! Your correspondent, too, will, doubtless, feel somewhat embarrassed, when he reads this letter. He will naturally say, this person calls himself a Deist; but he pronounces the watch-word, I fear, only to be admitted into the camp. It is true, like Brutus, he wears the senatorial robe, and professes attachment to Cæsar : but is it not to be suspected, that, like the same Brutus, he conceals a dagger, and appears among our friends, only to stab the more effectually?
Whilst on the one side, I find it absolutely impossible to yield to the scriptures the claim of a divine original, there is no merit surely in confessing, on the other side, that to my understanding, nothing in nature can appear balfso contemptible and frivolous, as many of the cavils which have been started and re-started by Deists in every age, against the authenticity and pretensions of the Bible. I defy any man of common honesty or common fairness, to read attentively the theological books of Paine, without feeling the strongest emotion of disgust or pity. Many of his assertions are totally unfounded ; and many of his insinuations tinctured with the basest malignity. This censure extends, though perhaps not in its full force, to the particular objection, culled by your correspondent. Mr. Paine knew very well the precise condition of the fact: he knew what every enlightened commentator readily admits : he knew very well, that none but the most ignorant ever supposed that the Pentateuch was written, exclusively, by Moses ; or left by the Jewish legislatur precisely as we now find it. The truth is, I dare say, that Moses is the real author of the
institutions, contained in these books; and of the historical part, so far as it relates to the creation and the first ages : and that the whole were delivered down in the shape of annals, probably, and municipal regulations, till some person at a much later period, was at the trouble to collect and arrange these scattered materials, and bestow upon them the tone and colour of a regular, connected history. Viewing thing's accord, ing to this representation of them, every thing appears easy and natural. The record of his death and burial, which we find in one of these books; the seareh that was afterwards made for his body; the mentioning of his name continually in the third person; the respectful and affectionate terms, which his biographer applies to him almost on every occasion-these, and circumstances like these, far from involving any thing harsh or difficult, every one must admit to be perfectly fair and commendable.
Moses was a very extraordinary man, indisputably; and an able politician. He was a most accomplished scholar; he past a great part of his life at the court of Egypt, at that time the seat of learning, wisdom, and civilisation, and his notions of the Deity, considering the period at which he lived, are wonderfully correct. At the same time it must be acknowledged, that the grandeur of his conceptions is sometimes lamentably debased, by an unfortunate association with what is low, vulgar, and niean. His powerful understanding, like the “ Peruvian torTent," brings down gold; but, together with it, sand also.
With respect to the marvellous, or supernatural parts of these compositions, if we met with thein in any other history, we should treat them only with silent contempt. A modern philosopher is apt, and justly, to lend a very academic ear" to this kind of traditionary tales. We are certainly by no means reduced to the alternative of receiving or rejecting all that is related, of whatever sort. Where is the inconsistency or impropriety, in believing what appears to be conformable to the usual experience of mankind; while we reject, with disdain, the wild and romantic fables which grow in numberlegs profusion on the vast field of ancient 'story ; and which, like the forests of America, must be removed before the ground which they occupy can be of the least value or importance to the cultivator? When the historian of antiquity speaks of Numa, Brutus, Vespasian, Moses, Mahomet, Socrates, and the illustrious founder of the Christian religion ; I doubt not in the least, that such 'men have existed, and have been'respectively well-known. But when the same historian; proceeding with his narrative, talks of Numa's ins structions froin the goddess Egeria ; of the ghost which Bru. 'tus sa win his-terit; of Vespasian's curing the lame and the