« ElőzőTovább »
check-rein, he should guard the helm ; but the schoolmaster is always with the children, forming their characters, and shaping their minds for good or for evil. The schoolmaster is the adopted parent ; and is that parent to know nothing of God or of Christ, in the midst of his family?
But more than this : it would be a vain, as it would be an unprincipled attempt to force upon us a mixed scheme of education. Whatever a few extreme Churchmen, whatever some Dissenters, (I am sure but a fraction of them,) or whatever some Romanists may be prepared to do, that they may hail such a godless scheme, and send their children to the schools so prepared ; I know the body of the nation will be against the measure ; I know that our schools shall never come under the power of such a system. I know that if any Government were to endeavour to foist it upon me, my schoolhouse, which was built independently of any national interference, by the private contributions of the flock, among whom I minister, should be razed to the dust, before it should be brought under the influence of such an iniquitous system. And I am not alone in these sentiments. My Reverend brethren around me, would you not say the same ? Poll the clergy of England ; and you will find, with a few fractional exceptions, that the great mass of them testify their abhorrence of any system, which goes to separate the Bible and the schoolmaster.
It is a misnomer, my Christian friends, to call such piebald systems national. Surely the National Church is not to be the only thing in the nation, not to be cared for in its measures ; and surely the national education of England is not to outrage the principles, to trample under foot the feelings, and, I may almost say, to play false to the title-deeds of the schools of the great mass of the clergy of our Church. Justice to the clergy forbids such an attempt to nationalize education, by denationalizing Christianity.
My Christian friends, I have said enough to show, that it is your bounden duty to be up and doing, at the present juncture. If such a national education is not to be brought about, if such a Popish measure is not to pass the Legislature, you must get a party in the House, strong enough, intelligent enough, and united enough, to put a drag upon the downward course of our Protestant Constitution. I invite the Protestant Association to gird itself to the work. Let the rich Protestant merchants and nobles come forward with their fifty pounds each, till they have raised a thousand or twelve hundred pounds, just for one year, to give the effort a fair trial. Let them send round agents, to give information, and excite interest, in different localities,-in every borough, and every county, that returns Members to Parliament; and let them call upon the soundhearted Protestant layman and clergyman, to rally around them, not for any party, or political, or secular purpose, but for the purpose of guarding our Protestantism, as far as it yet remains to us. Let them do this advisedly, discreetly, energetically, and perseveringly, and I have no doubt that the spirit of Protestantism will be roused. It is the minority carrying it against the majority ; it is the agitating few, against the supine many which ruins us. And
And if we could get our Protestant pastors to rouse themselves, there is a strength in the elergy
of England, and in their ten thousand flocks, which, if once roused, no Administration would be able to withstand, and no British Parliament to insult, outrage, and destroy.
And why is this feeling to be roused ? To put Whig out of office, or Conservative into office; to put any mercantile restrictions aside, or into force ? God forbid. We have nothing to do comparatively with these minor matters ; but it is for the glorious purpose of maintaining the truth, defending “the ark of God,” keeping out Antichrist, and preserving Christ and His Gospel in the midst of us. If this is to be political, were Cranmer, and Latimer, and Ridley political ? If this is to be political, were the seven bishops who went down your Thames to the Tower, fearless for the truth, political ? Were they opposing " the powers that be ?” They were opposing them, but not with sword, or brand, or weapons of carnal warfare, but with the might of meekness, and with the intrepidity of a martyr's suffering, and a martyr's faith. And were they political in opposing “ the powers that be,” even passively? They only opposed them when these opposed Him who made those powers to be—God who makes all powers to be. “Judge ye,” they said, “whether we ought to obey God or man.” Thus did they, and thus did they hold fast their Protestantism, and William of Orange came over, in answer to the noble demonstration of feeling which was manifested. Oh ! for the same spirit in our hierarchy and clergy now! We have it in some. I heard the noble and honest-hearted Robert Daly preach a short time ago, and he spoke with the same spirit that ought to animate us. And be assured of this, my Christian friends, that in so arousing themselves, the pious clergy and the pious laity of this land, would not be arousing themselves as mere politicians, but as humble upholders of “ the truth as it is in Jesus," whose “ hearts tremble for the ark of God," and whose hands are uplifted to protect it, not by weapons of carnal warfare, but by that electoral power, which the Head of the ark has put into their hands, and of which they must give account at the great day, when they must give account of all their talents, public as well as private, national as well as individual.
But besides this : do not let us attempt aggression merely on Popery, but aggression on bewildered Romanists, to bring them to the light. There are young persons and Protestant operatives here, that have no vote. Do you say, “ What can we do ?” Go in a spirit of love and tenderness to your Romish neighbours ; take to them well-digested tracts ; talk to them in meekness and kindness. Do not begin by talking to them about their errors ; talk to them of Jesus, whose blood cleanseth from all sin ; talk to them of the blessed Spirit who renovates the heart ; show them the straight road to heaven, with no dark purgatory between ; tell them of the all-sufficient merits of the Saviour, without any of the dust of man's miserable merit and righteousness blended with it ; tell them of the one only Mediator, seated on the throne of heaven, without any tortuous winding way, through manifold mediators ; tell them of the one Sun, which absorbs all the stars in His own bright rays, and not of the stars, amidst the milky galaxy of so-called saints, which have almost obscured the light they pretend to augment. Tell them, my Christian friends, that the song of angels is not the song of “ Glory to the Pope, and perdition to the
heretic,” but “ Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men.” Take to them the Council of Trent, (for you may get it in a translation, and you may satisfy them that it is a true one, as it is vouched for by those who are capable of judging,) and read to them its damnatory clauses. Read how it goes on, -" Cursed is he that denieth this doctrine," “ Cursed is he that saith that man's righteousness is not that wrought in him, as well as that imputed to him ;" • Cursed is this man ;” and then come from Mount Gerizim, (if we may venture so to say,) come from the awful religion, which Popery would substitute for the gracious and the mild religion of the Gospel, and then open the fifth chapter according to St. Matthew, and read : “ Jesus went up into a mountain : and when he was set; his disciples came unto him: and he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying, Blessed are the poor in spirit : for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are they that mourn : for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek : for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness : for they shall be filled. Blessed are the merciful : for they shall obtain mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers : for they shall be called the children of God. Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake : for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.: Blessed are ye when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake." And ask them which is the voice of Jesus---Cursed, cursed, cursed,” or “ Blessed, blessed, blessed ?”
So do, my Christian friends, and you may win many. I am well aware, that we labour under a disadvantage, by meetings like these, that in denouncing Romanism as we hate it, Romanists doubt whether we love themselves, and so we put a stumbling-block in their way.' It is a necessary evil. We must rouse the Protestants, and we cannot do so, but by telling them what Popery really is. But show them out of doors, out of the excitement of a crowded meeting, that you love them with all your hearts. I believe at this moment, that if Protestants were to act up to the true Protestant spirit, there would be immense work going on, and Rome would tremble in her own quarters. We hear even now of many instances of conversion from the Church of Rome. The daughter of a distinguished Wesleyan' minister, (Rev. Dr. Newton,) who had joined the Church of Rome, has since come back, and I have had the privilege of administering to her the sacrament of the Lord's Supper. She has seen Rome behind the scenes”; she has seen the quagmire beneath the green surface, which only serves to deceive the heedless traveller. I shall have the privilege of admitting at my next communion, a young man, holding a situation on one of the railways, who was brought up a Romanist ; and his wife is only waiting for further information to join him at the holy table. These are some of the fruits of our feeble efforts in one place ; and in Ireland they can shew the fruits of their feeble efforts by tens, and by hundreds. And I have not the least hesitation in saying, with Captain Gordon, that if we but act in the spirit of the Reformation, and endeavour to carry it out, we shall turn the tables, and do like Hannibal, who drew back the Romans from Carthage, to defend their own city and country.
But, my Christian friends, we should do more and better than this. I would give little for mere political Protestants or Romanists, in the proper sense of the word ; (there is not much difference between them ;) I would give little to make a man a nominal Churchman, or to make him cease being a nominal Romanist. We do not want to make proselytes:; we do not want to pluck laurels to wreathe. around our brow; but we want to pluck “brands from the burning,” that they may “grow into trees of righteousness," and that their leaves may be wound around the brow of Him who sitteth upon the throne.
My Christian friends, endeavour to act out what I have said, in the spirit of love and meekness, with zeal and pains-taking, with no conscious superiority, and no political taint of bitterness'; and remember that your heart is as “ deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked,”-and, if left to itself, would run into the same excesses-as that of the poor deluded Romanist ; and, instead of despising him, it is your duty to pity him, and weep over him, and pray over him, and exhort him.
Beware of harshness, and irony, and ridicule, in the cause of truth. They are unhallowed weapons ; they are not our Master's ; they do not come from the Bible ; your weapon ought to be the simple “ sword of the Spirit," anointed with the oil of love. I hate the spirit of the age, so rife with ridicule and contempt ; we are becoming & laughing nation, and we could hardly become a worse. I grieve, in travelling, to see the avidity with which our young men, ay, and our grave men, and sometimes our greyheaded men, devour the Pickwicks and the Punches, which are now so plentiful. I am no enemy to wit, and humour, and laughter, in their proper places ; but this I do-say, that when our Queen on her throne, when our Church, our bishops, our noblest generals, and our wisest senators—from the hero. of Waterloo, up to our beloved Queen, (whom may God bless,) are commonly associated with jokes and gibes, it takes from the dignity of Old England. If a nation's literature is an index to a nation's spirit and tastes, I am afraid we must judge hardly of the present generation, with all its vaunted illumination, and its boasted march of intellect. For my part, I see few men reading good old books, like our fathers and Reformers.; I see few men studying a solid production on our constitution and our laws ; but I see the multitude reading that which excites a jeer or a laugh; and that about the follies of their fellowcreatures, which ought rather to excite the tear of pity, than the laugh of scorn. It is a bad thing to laugh, where we ought to mourn ; and it tends to harden the heart.
My Christian friends, I will not pursue this train of thought, which to do would be to do injustice to those friends that are to follow. I would simply close, by giving you one cheering piece of information, though, doubtless, you may have heard of it,,but you cannot hear it too often ; and I call upon London to do as Manchester has done, and to begin this day. In one solitary year just closed, there have been issued from the Bible Depository at Manchester 96,000 copies of the Word of God, and I believe not one of them has been given away ; enough to put a copy in the hands of every family in Manchester and its immediate vicinity. It is a noble fact : " Go and do likewise." Priests and Inquisitions may perhaps stop the voice of the living preacher ; they have done it before ; but how will it be possible for all the agents of Rome, united with Infidelity, (as prophecy seems to indicate,) to gather up the 96,000 Bibles, which in one year, and in one place, have been distributed ? My Christian friends, take it as an omen for good ; “ go and do likewise ;" thank God, and take courage.
The Rev. C. J. GOODHART seconded the Resolution, which was carried.
DR. KALLEY.—The Resolution which I have to propose, is, " That the proceedings at Madeira, whether as regards the treatment of the native Portuguese, or of British subjects, manifest a determination, on the part of Popery, to crush all examination of, or secession from, her erroneous system.” And further :-" That whilst this country has granted free license to Popish subjects of foreign States, to sojourn in the British dominions, without molestation, and even to seek the advancement of their religion therein, it ought also, by treaty, to be settled and provided, as between our own and foreign countries, that the same social, religious, and political liberties and immunities be accorded to British subjects in Popish countries, as are accorded to the subjects of Popish States whilst resident in Great Britain."
Once it seemed impossible that such a system as Popery should ever triumph in this land ; but among all the changes which take place with so much rapidity on the face of society, there is, perhaps, none more remarkable than the progress of Popery within the last few years.
One great reason for its making such progress is, the prevailing persuasion, that Popery is not now what once she was. It becomes, therefore, necessary, that Popery be tried-fairly tried, that men may know whether or not she is still what she was in past ages. And how is she to be tried ? In the court of reason—reason illuminated by revelation from God—and by her own authorized declarations, and systems of theology. When so tried in that court, what do we find ? We find her commanding man to receive that, to believe which he must disbelieve his senses, renounce his reason, and set aside the testimony of his God. We find her approve of trying to convince her own vassals by cruelty, imprisonment, persecution, and even death, and to convert her opponents by similar means. We ask, in the court of reason, what sentence is to be pronounced upon such a system as this ?
But the adherents of Popery object to her being tried in such a way. They seek to spread a persuasion that her manifold idolatries are relics of a barbarous age ; that her persecuting decrees are.obsolete, and are now no more to be enforced. When we reply that Popery claims infallibility, that she dare not reform her system, nor abolish her persecuting decrees and idolatrous practices, without committing suicide, (as one of her own dignitaries has often told me,) and that, therefore, we may expect a repetition of her former cruelties as soon as she gets power to perpetrate them, then we are styled illiberal, intolerant, and even persecuting opponents of a system, which is, at least, “ as good as any other.” We would, however, be treated as reasonable beings ; and seeing that Popery still retains these persecuting decrees in her system of theology, we ask proof, that they are obsolete and abolished. We are referred to the practices of Romanists