Abbildungen der Seite

Doddridge and Whitby, Bishops Hopkins and Hall, Vi. tringa, Witsius, Junius, and Tremellius, not to instance the great lights of the Reformation, Wickcliffe, Luther, Calvin, Bucer, Melancthon and Beza, or the labours of Pole in his invaluable Synopsis,” or of Gale, (although a Dissenter,) in his Court of the Gentiles ?” Are these men, wbo adduced the most powerful arguments to prove the Church of Rome idolatrous, apostate, and antichristian, together with that noble army of martyrs, who resisted unto blood striving against sin, to be thus charged by Mr. Wix with intemperate zeal, uncharitableness, and absurdity--and to be set aside as so many misguided fanatics, who ought rather to have embraced and uniteit with the Romish Church, than have called her by such uncharitable names as “Mystery, Babylon the Great, the Mother of “ Harlots, and abominations of the earth, the Woman drunken “ with the blood of the Saints, and with the blood of the Martyrs “ of Jesus?” (Rev. xvii. 5, 6.) We think, if it be put to the spiritual part of the nation to choose between their sentiments and those now propounded, no doubt can remain as to the decision.

We venture further to predict, that what Grotius attempted in vain, will not be accomplished by Mr. Wix. Permitting • himself, (says Bishop Hurd,) too easily to conclude that the

Protestant doctrine of Antichrist was the sole, or principal, sobstruction to the union of the Catholic and Protestant

Churches, he bent all the efforts of his wit and learning to discredit and overtbrow that doctrine. The issue of his general scheme was what might easily be foreseen; and of his ar'guments I shall only say, that the Romish voriters themselves, for whose use they might seem to be invented,

though they continue to object his name to us, are too wise " to venture the stress of their cause upon

them.' Our Author denies that the Latin service of the Romish Church is intended to keep the people in ignorance, and says it arises from the affection of the Roman Catholics for the Latin

language as a Catholic language.' Now, we think this rather too much even for the credulity of the Papists themselves, who must know full well, that if Latin be the universal language of the learned, it is not, and never will be, the universal language of the Poor to whom the Gospel was to be preached, nor can any logic make it so. They are indemnified, however, says Mr. Wix, by having a translation on one side of the page : this is very consolatory. But we may safely put it to any man, woman, or child in the Reformed Church, what kind of intercourse could be expected to pass between the worshipper, and Him who“ must be worshipped in spirit and in truth,” if the minister were to conduct the service in what must be to them a barba rous language, while they were reduced to the necessity of fol

[ocr errors]


lowing bim, with what speed they might, upon the crutches of a translation. Surely the probability is, that in despair of deriving edification from so irrational a service, they would act as there is but too much reason to believe is done under the systein in question, that is, would consider themselves as mere automata, crossing themselves at certain intervals, making profound prostrations and genuflexions at others, dropping the beads of their rosaries at every fresh paternuster, and leaving all the rest to the priest as their spiritual father aod the director of their consciences. We need not stop in remark how utterly at variance is this apology for prayers in an unknown tongue, with the Articles of the Church of England, and the plain declarations of Scripture.

The appearance of our Catholic chapels is highly delightful to Mr. Wix. There is an attention and a devotion,' he says, 'truly exemplary to ali Protestants, during the performance of 'mass and vespers, while the prayers and psalms are in a lan

guage not generally understood.' Again : Certainly the Romish service is grand and captivating. In proof of this, quotes the anonymous journal of some modern traveller in France, who, being reduced by excessive fatigue almost to a state of hysterical agitation, repaired to the Church of St. Roche, then illuminated with anusaal splendour,' in order to

tranquillize the painful irritation of his brain.' the traveller, the gorgeous babiliments of the long train of * priests, the splendour of the prolonged ceremony, the exquisite

chanting of the singers, were altogether infinitely impressive. • I was so overpowered, that I could scarcely stifle the hysterical

sobs which arose.' (We recollect nothing so sentimental in all Sterne.) 'I felt a reverential awe which almost made me dread * to lift up my eyes, lest I should encounter the reproving glance • of an offended Deity. My conscience brought before me all

the faults I had ever been guilty of'—a most bappy effect of candle light! The grand climax of all this sublime scenery is, that forgetting he was called a Protestant, this benighted traveller received the sacrament with sincere devotion, and ' thought not,' as he says, ' of the peculiar tenets of Catholic

or Protestant.' Indeed, it was unnecessary to inform us, that he thought not of those peculiar tenets, or he would not so readily bave partaken of that bread which the priest of a clifferent communion pretended to have then converted into the actual body of Christ, of whose nature and character, however, this traveller appears to have had a very inadequate notion, wben he proceeds to designate him as a persect man ;' neither would he bave been contented to have been refused the cup, which' his own Church would have permitted him to partake of,


Here,' says but which the Church of Rome impiously denies to the laity. Such is the anecdote by which it is now hoped to impress the Public with a sense of the imposing and affecting service of the Mass, when set off with all the frippery of vocal and instrumental music, and all the meretricious varnish of Romish or Parisian ornament !

How can we wonder, after this, at Courayer's attending Mass and Church-service alternately, at Ealing, as Mr. Wix says be did, or blame the orthodox in general for the hankering they at present feel after the use of Holy water, the elevation of the Host, the elegancies of Image worship, the charm of Iodalgencies, and the benefits of Extreme unction?

We now find our Author declaring himself more openly on the fearful perils of the Bible Society, and lest any doubt should rest upon his own authority, he adduces the sanction of the Rev. Mr. Phelan and the Rev. Mr. Norris, in proof of the mischiefs resulting from the indiscriminate association of • Churchmen and Dissenters in the British and Foreign Bible So

ciety.' The sum of their united arguments is, that the association of churchmen with dissenters, even for such a purpose as distributing the simple word of God abroad and at home, without note or comment, begets religious indifference, and leads to communion in error, ipduces contempt for the doctrines of the Church, and disregard for the authority of antiquity. Not only, therefore, does our Author abjure all union with Dissenters, and treat the very expectation of such a union as chimerical, but he solemnly warns all the members of his own Church, as they tender their spiritual safety and their common happiness, against meeting under the same roof, and sitting round the same table with Dissenters, even for the godlike purpose of supplying greater facilities to the distribution of that blessed word which he professes to believe is “ the power of God unto salvation," which can alone open the blind eyes, soften the bard heart, and “ turn men from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan « onto God.” While such reasoners, however, are doubting and disputing, the purpose of the Almighty is manifestly being accomplished in the world. The prayer of David, the son of Jesse, that the whole earth might be filled with His glory, is being answered before our eyes; and while we behold such glory to God in the higbest, we witness its benign accompaniment in that peace and good will among men which bespeak the real source of such a blessing, and best evince its character. Yes, we will venture to tell opponents of every name and class, that although we cannot adopt the union with the Church of Rome which is bere recommended, we believe that the Bible Society bas done more in promoting and extending the divine principle

of CHARITY, than ever was accomplished before, or ever could have been brought about in any other way, or upon any lower system. We would therefore address opponents in the words of even a beatben monarch, “Let the work of this House of "God alone."

But, says tbe Reverend Divine before us, the friends of the Bible Society can give no pledge for the possession of sound doctrine, nor any security for the profession of a right faith. To take the lowest possible ground in meeting this argument, we should be glad to be informed what the Romish Church has done for the world in this particular? DoProtestant divines of the National Establishment mean to tell us, in defiance of all ancient history and modern experience, that any better guarantee for Scriptural doctrine and practice has been afforded by the Popish hierarchy, from the first corruption of the truth as “it is in Jesus," down to the present moment? Have they so read De 'Thou and Rapin, Burnet and Robertson, as to disbelieve and deny the awful darkness of Popery in doctrine, and the consequent grossness and deformity of Popery in practice? If so, let them oply look at the important admission of Eustace bimself, a “propbet of their own,” who, when speaking of the flagrant immorality of Italy, says, May it not be ascribed to

the corruptions of the national religion, to the facility of procuring Absolution, and to the easy purchase of Indul. gences* ? Have Spain and Portugal furnished such brilliant examples of the purity of the Romish faith, or tended to prove that faith so remarkable a preservative from error? · The reli

gion of Spain,' says Pinkerton, is the Roman Catholic, which in this country and Portugal has been carried to a pitch of fanaticism. The monks being extremely numerous, and

buman passions ever the same, those ascetics atone for the want of marriage by the practice of adultery, and the husbands,

from the dread of the Inquisition, are constrained to connive at • this enora:ous abuse. The conscience is seared by the prac! tice of Absolution ; and the mind becomes reconciled to the

strangest of all phenomena-theoretic piety, and practical vice united in bonds almost indissoluble. The vice becomes 'flagrant beyond conception, as it is practised by those very men who ought to exhibit examples of pure morality.t' Again : It may perhaps be asserted that the Roman Catholic system in the south of Europe is the only superstition in the universe which has at any period necessitated the practice of vice; thus confirming the maxim that the corruption of the purest and best system is always the worst. Were an Apostle again to

* Eustace's Italy, Vol. II. p. 46.
+ Geography, Vol. I. p. 415.



[ocr errors]

visit Spain, he would certainly begin by preaching the Cbris“tian practice, as if the very idea of Christianity bad perisbed, • and his first duty would be to CONVERT The Ecclesiastics.'*

Did the Romish religion do much for France before she openly renounced her Maker, or preserve her from rank ipfidelity and atheism as a nation? Does it now secure to her the observance of the Sabbath, or preserve her from the violations of the marriage vow? The Sunday Theatres, and other public enormities of France, are too well known to require further notice. And with regard to private life, Mr. Pinkerton remarks: • The laws and decency of marriage are frequently

sacrificed, and the looseness of the French morals in regard to • the female sex has become proverbial.' Professor Robison, in his 'Proofs of a Conspiracy, &c.' speaking of the state of France for above half a century before the Revolution, says:

Infidelity was almost universal.'+ Religion in France ap• appeared in its worst form, and seemed calculated solely for

procuring establishments for the younger sons of an insolent and useless noblesse. The morals of the bigber orders of the clergy and of the laity were equally corrupted.'I Would the reader know the cause of all this corruption ? Mr. Pinkerton shall supply it. “Any SupersTITION REMARKABLY ABSURD AAS

A TENDENCY TO PRODUCE CONCEALED Atheism.'s. This observation remarkably corresponds to one of Gale, althougla written above a century ago : • What more potent to make men • Atheists than such a ridiculous superstitious religion as that of • the map of sin. Carnal policy, which is the quintessence of popery, naturally tends to Atheism.'ll

With regard to the present condition of France, in reference to papal error and priestly subjugation, we have only to remember that one of the first acts of the restored monarchy, was to found at St. Denis, a royal chapter of thirty-four canons, to jvclude the whole of the bishops, whose duties are expressly defined in the act of foundation, to be to perform aine masses

for the dead daily ; namely, three for each of the three dynasties of the French monarchy; to say vespers daily for the

dead; the service being consecrated exclusively to prayers for • the souls of the illustrious dead, whose remains are deposited in that Church.'. For these objects above £. 2,000 sterling were appropriated on the first establishment, and above £. !0,000 sterling annually from a dilapidated treasury, which is actually paying at this moment.

Geography, Vol. I. p. 253. + Robison's Proofs, &c. p. 34.

1 Ibid. p. 60. Geog. Vol. I. p. 257. ll Court of Gentiles, Part III. p. 223

« ZurückWeiter »