Oldalképek
PDF
ePub

graciously converted into an argument to its injury. Thus is charity made to defeat herself by being exercised on objects inversely as their

which are pretty extended, and distinguished by ability, discover, as we have before had an opportunity of observing, both the intimate knowledge and the lively interest of Italy, in what is going forward in Britain and Ireland with respect to religion. The translator quite concurs, and exults, in the opposition given to the Bible Society by individuals in this country. Some of these opponents may feel fortified by the following information of their faithful coadjutor. Oggidi cresce, si sostiene, e propagasi l'incredulità coll" ajuto della Bibbia, mi scrisse l'anno andato un dotto Ecclesiastico, che ora è onorato tra le prima dignità della Chiesa, p. 48. Neither the original author nor the translator and annotator have adduced, as they might have done, a very worthy authority for the conduct of their church-Mahomet. Versutus ille pessimus astuto consilio libros veteris et novi testamenti suis sequacibus non reliquit legendos, nec etiam disputationem permisit iniquam faciendam, ne hac occasione sua falsitas detegeretur. Fasciculus Temporum ad ann. 714. The author was WARNERUS ROLwink, a Carthusian monk. The fact, which is the more striking as well as painful, for being exhibited in the instance of such a person as Fenelon, of the uniform and necessary hostility of genuine Romanism to the diffusion and knowledye of the Scriptures, is justly and forcibly substantiated in Antichrist, Papal, Protestant, and Infidel. An Estimate of the Religion of the times : comprising a View of the Origin and Genius of the Roman Catholic Religion, and of its Identity with every form of nominal Christianity. By the Rev. John RILAND, pp. 209, &c. The main and supremely important object of the work is, to prove the utter insignificance of merely nominal Christianity; and, in concurrence with Mr. Rose's State of Protestantism in Germany, demonstrates, that the simple name of Protestant confers no necessary superiority over professors of the religion against which their opponents protested and protest. The present work has no immediate bearing upon a distinction, which, however, ought always to be assumed ; and any comparison instituted between the two denominations of Christianity should, in justice, be confined to the genuine and direct tendency or effect of each ; when it will possibly appear, that the unchristian Protestant and the christian Romanist are each produced in equal opposition to their respective principles.

merits. Thus does truth suffer in the house, and at the hands, of her professed friends.

All this, and much more, of such unnatural reasoning and conduct might be easily, and indeed most easily, accounted for, on the supposition of either perfect ignorance, or perfect indifference for the Christianity, which, with the necessary addition of protestant to the name, this favoured nation professes. Of the principal agents, and first-movers, in the antiprotestant party, this, or even worse, might probably with truth be affirmed. Tros Rutulusve is their motto. But of some this certainly is not the fact : and their case is for that reason more the matter of lamentation. In real protestants we expect and may require, not only the profession, but an ardent love, of the purified religion with which their country is blessed; and we cordially participate in the indignant and honourable feeling, with which Mr. Wilberforce stigmatizes Dr. Robertson's 'phlegmatic account of the reformation ; a subject which,' he justly adds,

we should have thought likely to excite in any one, who united the character of a Christian Divine with that of an Historian, some warmth of pious gratitude for the good providence of God *.'

* Practical View, &c. ed. 1797, pp. 386, 7, Note.

6

Neither is our concurrence less sincere with the late judicious and profound Dean Milner. I own it is with much pain, and awful foreboding of consequences, that I have observed some of our wisest and most enlightened statesmen appear to entertain such sentiments of the present state of the Roman Catholic religion as to me are wholly unaccountable, except on the hypothesis, either of almost a total ignorance of both the religious and political parts of the Papal system; or, certainly, of an irreverent contempt and carelessness respecting the one, and a dangerous misconception of the other *.' Were I disposed to fortify these sentiments by other authority, I should select a work professedly written upon the subject some years ago, and never refuted or even plausibly answered. I mean, the Revival of Popery, in Letters addressed to William Wilberforce, Esq. M. P. by the late William Blair, Esq., and it would certainly be well for the nation, if those who find time to legislate, would likewise find time to qualify themselves, by proper information, to do so without injury to interests, of which they are the

* Sermons, vol. i. pp. 30, 1. He had before written, 'Şeveral persons, and even some of our leading Senators, suppose that Popery has long since been abundantly meliorated. But I wish they may not be nearer the truth, who think that the spirit of Protestantism has sadly degenerated.' Church of Christ, vol. iv. Preface to Second Part.

hereditary and elected guardians. For services which might thus be rendered it is but the mockery of a compensation, to coalesce with a party, insufficient when in power, except for an insulated act which may be overrated, and frequently vexatious when out of power. Neither ought gratitude for a great, but certainly limited, service, to be carried to such a point of apparent obsequiousness, as to induce those, who may consider thomselves under its obligation, to join in the illiberal clamour raised against the clergy, for their exertions in a cause, in which, whether they have, or can have, greater interest than their fellow-protestants or not, they have certainly as good a judgment, and possibly one which need not fear comparison with that of the wisest of their opponents. To say

the least, it is hardly decorous even to appear

to adopt the principle of a sect, infamous, as well as notorious, for its brutal intolerance; and to deny to the authorized Christian instructors of the empire, that right of being heard by the legislature, on a subject peculiarly within their province, which is secured to some in the class of the humblest subjects of the British dominions on any.

The reflexions which have thus naturally arisen from the preceding inquiry, whatever their aspect, have so little of hostility in them, that it is the most fervent wish and prayer of him who has felt

himself bound to make them, that the subjects of a system, against which singly bis antipathy is directed, may discover the fallacy and iniquity of that system ; and by a generous, but certainly difficult, effort, effect for themselves, as it is in their power to do, the real EMANCIPATION which they need. Let them examine the subject impartially and resolutely; and the event, with the Divine Blessing, will be, that their chains, their worst chains, their spiritual chains, will fall at their feet; and, besides the best of blessings, the spiritual ones suited to such a deliverance, they will no longer feel it a point of conscience to be bad subjects; but while they give to Cæsar the things which are Cæsar's, they will give to Godnot to the Pope--the things which are God's. It will then be no longer necessary to treat them as more than half foreigners : but the capacity and performance of an undivided obedience will open the door to every privilege which a grateful nation can grant to faithful subjects; and all their fellow-subjects, who understand their duty, will embrace them with cordial affection as their brethren*. There is not a future fact, of which I feel

* I do not feel it necessary to accommodate this or any of the preceding passages, to the papal revolution of 1829, because I wish it to stand as a record of an unchanged opinion; and it remains yet to be proved the event, even as far as that fallacious argument may be allowed, whether any

« ElőzőTovább »