« ElőzőTovább »
the veil of infidelity, which they call charity, over the corruptions of Popery, and lead many aside from that which forms the real ground of the contest, to unimportant matters.
We trust that our Readers will investigate the subject for themselves, and in these times of conflict, be enabled by a true and living faith, to embrace and hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life purchased for us through our Saviour, the Lord Jesus. Oh! let them remember that mere numbers cannot change the nature of truth. Acts of Parliament cannot alter it. Consent of multitudes can never make that to be right which is unscriptural, nor render it consistent with our duty to support what the Spirit of love and truth and wisdom has pointed out, as destined to destruction.
To our literary contributors, we can only proffer our warmest thanks, and re-assure them, that any future communication will be at all times gladly received and highly valued by us.
THE APPROACHING ELECTION. The period cannot be very distant when a general election must take place. We trust that, come when it may, every true-hearted Protestant will be prepared to act his part well. Most unwillingly should we incur the charge, however unjustly, of entering needlessly upon the noisy and unsatisfactory arena of party politics. We feel happy that we are not called upon to do so. We look forward to the period when principle will be placed above party; when questions, involving the best interests of mankind, will no longer be regarded as mere stepping-stones, by which vain and ambitious sciolists may climb to power; nor as mere instruments which politicians may use, to fight the battle of personal pique, or personal aggrandizement and ambition.
We rejoice to witness this change. The growing intelligence and the growing piety of the age cast too strong a light upon the acts of statesmen to permit the veil of office to hide them from public gaze and scrutiny. And if knowledge had been more advanced, and piety had kept pace with knowledge, we should fear little either from the intrigues of Popery and Jesuitism on the one hand or the open ayowals of infidelity and democracy on the other. · The present times certainly appear more fraught with great and important matters than any recorded in the page of history; and in the disruption of parties, in the breaking up of long-established boundary-marks, and the repudiation of long-cherished and oftenavowed principles by statesmen and politicians of the present day, we have supplied a lesson, the moral of which is instructive, and ought not to be forgotten. Whilst it shows how the crafty can make use of the simple, the honest, and confiding, to suit their purposes, and then betray the confidence they have acquired; and, by thus instructing us in the littleness of great men, the folly of the wise, and the uncertainty of terrestrial objects, it should lead all to repose their trust in Him whom earthly change affects not. What will be the future course of events, it is not for us to know. Let it be enough for us to
VOL. VIII.-January, 1846. B New Series, No. 1.
discharge our duties, and to leave the events with Him who alone can order the unruly wills and affections of sinful menoverrule intended evil for the furtherance of greater good for his Church and people, as seemeth best to his godly wisdomwho bestows his honour upon those who, whether nationally or individually considered, honour Him.
The past is gone; the present is before us; of the future we are ignorant. Each month-each week-each day teems with events which the wisest in worldly wisdom could never have foreseen, and which baffle and confound them when beheld.
Where is that proud Administration, impervious to all opponents but itself? Where that strong and united Cabinet, in the resistless influence of which we beheld revived almost the days of Absolutism? Where that Ministry who, in lofty consciousness of power, but forgetful from whom it was derived and the tenure by which it was held, set at nought at once the wishes of the people and the dictates of Eternal Truth-pandering to insurrection-rewarding disloyalty with favour-making a compact with the Mystery of Iniquity—and ruling by the agency of evil?
We look round for it in vain. It is gone. How remarkable the event! Foreigners wonder at it. It occupies the press of Europe. At every court, and on every Change, it forms the topic of conversation and wonder, whilst various are the reasons given by men, “ often sagely wrong," as the cause of it.
Whatever the immediate and externally apparent cause may be, there is one which, as Protestant and Christian journalists, we should feel ourselves deeply guilty in not adducing.
It seems a visitation upon the Ministry, the party, and the nation, for their departure from Protestant, Bible Truth, and resorting to an Endowment of Idolatry in order to procure its favour.
Oh! if practical infidelity has not yet produced that obliquity of mental or moral vision which prevents an apprehension of the truth, who can fail to see and to believe, that He who will not have his honour given to another who is a jealous God-who has denounced Popery as the special object of his severest judgments — has now, in a most signal manner, turned the wisdom of men into foolishness, their strength into weakness, and made the counsellors of our State and the deliberations of our senators a laughing-stock to the nation, their enemies, and the world, bringing them to nothing at the very moment when they supposed themselves to have taken a course which would have rendered their tenure of office more sure their power irresistible!!
Scarcely was the Act of 1829* passed, when a powerful * See « England, the Fortress of Christianity,” by Rev. G. Croly. Protest: ant Association, 11, Exeter Hall.
Cabinet, composed of men of great weight and vast experience, within a few months was shivered to pieces ; and now, within a few months of the passing of the Maynooth Endowment Bill, a Cabinet yet more powerful is broken up-a Cabinet comprising the same men, restored to power after more than ten years' banishment from office.
And by whom have they been displaced ? and why? There seemed no apprehension of it when Parliament was prorogued. They retired from the conflict of the late session, stronger in position almost than they commenced it. They retired as the soldier when the summer campaign is over retires for the winter to recruit his strength, and to prepare for a more vigorous onset. But the seeds of dissolution were already sown. They retired as many a soldier retires from the battle-field, unscathed by the fire of the enemy, to suffer death in his own camp, either by sickness, or as the penalty for crime, or desertion.
And by whom have they been succeeded? By those who were prepared to carry measures, equally or more fraught with danger to the Church, the Aristocracy, the Throne, and the people themselves. For we wish to impress this upon the minds of our readers, that in our country the interests of the various classes and orders of society are all bound up together, as the members of one body. They are complete by being unitedpowerful, by being harmonious.
And where are those who had succeeded them? We ask again, where are they? The historian will pause as he records the fact, and future readers of history will hesitate, even if they doubt not as they read, to find in so short a space as a few days, two Cabinets overturned—the frame-work of political society dislocated—and each party and its leader too impotent to rally round a principle, if they had one-or a consistent policy, if they knew how to adopt it—the materials with which to carry on, as the responsible advisers of the Crown, the affairs of this mighty empire !!
They too are gone-Lord John Russell has found the reins of government beyond his power. Sir Robert Peel may therefore resume office, and though never again to enjoy the confidence he once possessed, it may be to do yet greater mischiefs, by involving us yet more deeply in the guilt of endowing and assisting Popery, and depressing the Protestant cause.
We had heard of measures contemplated by his late Cabinet, which would amply bear us out in these conjectures and from the names and the known and avowed objects and principles of those whom report says will form his new Cabinet, we have every reason to apprehend measures the most disastrous to the Protestant Institutions of our country. But can we disguise from ourselves that the position in which the affairs of the empire are
placed, are not only without a parallel, but are eminently critical and dangerous ?
Men of extreme views prescribe their own nostrums—as if each one of them was possessed of an infallible specific—which could alone serve as a panacea for the distraction, division, heartburnings, and distresses which prevail more or less throughout the country.
Still amidst all this conflict of opinion, there are duties which it is incumbent upon every lover of his country to perform, and we repeat our hope that no true-hearted Protestant will be wanting in the discharge of his duty. Unity, energy, activity rightly directed, will yet repair, in a great degree, the damages sustained..
But what are duties? When are we to be passive, when active? Where is to be found the boundary line between the sullen fatalism of the Turk, who would submit to the law of imperious necessity, and the submission and activity of the Christian, who, while he knows all things to be in the hands of the Supreme Ruler of men and nations, and can calmly repose in him, yet knows also that he has himself duties to perform-a free agency to exercise, and talents, for the use or neglect of which he is responsible now, and hereafter to him from whom he has received them? This is an important question—a practical questionbut, in some respects, a perplexing one.
It were difficult, perhaps impossible, for man to define the precise boundary line between Christian activity and Christian quiescence to know when it is a duty to move, and when “our strength is to sit still ;" even as it would for the artist to point out the exact line where a divergence begins from black to white, or white to black, though in their extremes, their diversity is patent and notorious to every one. So is it also with regard to activity and quiescence—when to act, when to sit still, when to oppose, when to submit-are questions which the Christian finds it oftentimes difficult to decide-questions rendered more perplexing from the imperfect medium through which they are beheld, causing them to be viewed in a distorted shape.
The position of parties, their qualifications, their physical constitutions, their temperaments, the times, and circumstances in which their lot may be cast, tend to produce different effects as to their views, and their mode of carrying them into effect. One is bold, another cautious ; some are all prone to action, others are for a passive course. The interests of parties also have no small weight. Some see an active and energetic course required, but their interest stands in the way of their public duty, and they thus sacrifice the good of their Church and their country, at the shrine of personal ease, personal promotion, or personal ambition.
Against each of these, the prayerful reading of God's Word affords the best remedy; purifying the motives restraining the