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and unstable, war is in his heart against every sound Churchman and uncompromising Protestant, whom he designates as “ obstinate heretics."
Deprecating the “perilous amnesty" into which Protestants have insensibly fallen, and reprobating the dangerous slumber" which has stolen upon our Church, our preacher thus calls upon us to awake, in strains of eloquent and powerful oratory :
The enemy is within the gates of the citadel; “ the Philistines are upon thee, Samson.” if thy strength be departed from thee, they will put out thine eyes, bind thee with fetters of brass, and make thee grind in the prison-house. God, in order to try and prove what was in the hearts of his ancient people, permitted the Canaanite to remain amongst them. Thus, as a test of our obedience, and “ love of truth,” has he left the Papists amongst us, as pricks in our eyes, and thorns in our sides, to vex us in the land wherein we dwell. Oft, in happier days, has our Church, by the word of God and the force of truth, driven from the field the Papal Antichrist. But, to use a figure, Antæus-like, he rises from the ground of his past defeats, refreshed and cherished by the powers of his mother earth, and the god of this world. Collecting all his might, he now dilated stards, with his stature aspiring to the sky, anticipating fresh conquests over a foe, weak, wavering, and divided. It is no longer safe for our own interests, nor faithful to the sacred trust committed to our charge, to rest upon our arms in supposed security. We must change the peaceful toga of our sacred office for the martial sagum of polemic theology. .... The venerable Clergy of our Establishment, like their ancestors of old, must be found in the first lines of the hottest battle, contending for that pure and reformed religion, which has been for ages the glory of England, the pride of our Church, and a blessing to the whole Christian world.—Pp. 8–10.
Whether our impassioned orator consider the various devices of our inveterate foe to overturn the Protestant Church, her impudent
fictions,” her childish “ fables,” her “ lying wonders ;" the motly crew of “mercenaries marching in the train of her political camp;" “the demagogues of turbulence, the demons of falsehood, the fiends of delusion,” who distort the facts of history, and libel the Reformation, and calumniate our Establishment “by idle stories, raked up from the sink of old Romish calumnies;” or, whether he dwell upon the sanguinary edicts by which Mary endeavoured to extirpate “the Protestant faith, by the excision of the Protestant name;" or, whether he paint the character of the present era, in which “ the votaries of Rome have greatly increased,” “to the astonishment and deep concern of every true Protestant:” his language is energetic, his statements are impressive, and his arguments convincing.
Having said that he entertains a persuasion that “God is sending our people a strong delusion to believe a lie," and that “Satan is going forth to deceive the nations," the Vicar of St. Mary's points his finger at the “irreligious indifference, and infidel principles,” which have so long been the bane of the Christian world, and deplores the credulity, the superstition, and the fanaticism, which the crafty Romanist too successfully bends to the interests of his proselyting communion. In their plan of operations against the Protestant Church, the wily members of the Church of Rome employ different kinds of
agents, and “introduce subtle and fallacious questions and arguments," adapted to the disposition and capacity of those, on whom they would practise their jesuitical deceptions.
No questions do they argue with more subtlety and fallacy than those disputable points in theology, the unity, authority, and tradition of the Church.P. 21.
Accordingly, our eloquent preacher sets himself to answer the vaunting pleas of Romanism on these three points, and utterly annihilates the weak and defenceless pretences, by which it has vainly endeavoured to deceive us. The unity, of which it boasts, is proved to be a Babel of multifold and jarring opinions; and the primacy of St. Peter is shewn to be nothing but “a fond conceit,” both by the authority of the Word of God, and by the testimony of the venerable Fathers of the Church.
As to the doctrine of tradition, "the rejection of which constituted the vital principle of the Reformation," and the fallacy of the authority of the Church, " by which the Popish disputant deceives the ignorant and the unstable,” we can assure our readers, that Dr. Fancourt has not failed to demonstrate them to be completely untenable ; and though, on these hackneyed topics, he could not be expected to dazzle us with novelty, he has merited the better praise of giving to old truths the freshness of youth, without impairing their strength. It is in this part of his subject that our author has the following eloquent passage, with which we beg leave to adorn our pages.
On the authority of what Church can we rest with greater safety than ou that of England? for she embodies in her constitution all that is ancient, holy, and excellent; the learning of past ages, with the improvement of modern times. What a constellation of talent, what a clustre of virtues, have shone forth from age to age among all ranks and classes of her children! Here may the mind rest, without fear or doubt, on matters pertaining to salvation. If the stamp of antiquity be required, she bears on her forehead the date of the earliest ages of Christianity. If the soundness of her doctrine, if the purity of her ritual, be scrutinized, she fears not to be weighed in the balance of the sanctuary, nor measured by the standard of God's word.-Pp. 32, 33.
In descanting upon the antiquity of our Church, Dr. Fancourt displays an accurate knowledge of ecclesiastical history; and dwells, in animated language, upon the doctrinal purity, and primitive simplicity of the Church first planted in Britain, ere the leaven of Papal iniquity had begun to taint her, in the days of Augustin, with the stain of worldly policy. The progress of events, at length, brings him to the blessed era of the Reformation, at which memorable epoch
The departure from Popery was a return to that purity of faith and doctrine, which marked the early foundation of the Christian Church, and accompanied its first establishment amongst us. Our Anglo-Saxon ancestors maintained nearly the same rule of faith and prayer that the Reformed Church of England now maintains. .... It is, indeed, reverend brethren, one of the greatest advan
tages we can boast of, that the Reformed Church of England, as to faith, worship, and discipline, and all that can make a rightly constituted church, is the same with the primitive Church of our forefathers; and that the primitive Church of England was, as to substance, the same as the primitive Church of Christ. This is the glory of the Reformation; this is the satisfaction that we may derive from the venerable monuments of antiquity; that from them we are enabled to deduce the agreement of the Reformed and our ancient Saxon Church; that it is no new Church, but the very same it was before the Roman Church, as now corrupted, notwithstanding her boasts of infallibility, antiquity, and universality, was known, or had an existence in the world.-Pp. 35, 37, 38.
Whether it be safer for a Christian to be a member of the Church of Rome than of the Church of England, looking to the erroneous doctrines and the corrupt practices of the former, it is no difficult question for any man to determine. And this is the important point to which, in the last place, the Vicar of St. Mary's calls our attention. Many and long as have been our extracts from the Sermon on our table, we must indulge ourselves with the satisfaction of quoting our author's just encomium upon our Protestant Church, for which, doubtless, our readers will acknowledge tacitly their obligations.
We are safer in our Church, and have several advantages for obtaining comfort and eternal life, of which they are destitute who belong to the Church of Rome, Safer, because what we believe as an article of faith has upon it the seal of truth and the stamp of antiquity; owned by all Christians, in all the world, and plainly revealed by the word of God. Safer, because, in our worship there is no taint of superstition; in our service no stain of idolatry; in our ceremonies, nothing but what is simple and edifying, nothing that can draw away the mind from worshipping God in spirit and in truth. In its forms, our ritual has nothing unmeaning, and nothing superfluous. Man is a weak creature, and in his devotion needs many aids, which may arouse a slumbering mind, and sustain the soul on the wings of prayer. On this wise principle, our Church, by the decent vestments of its ministers; by the interchange of reading, prayer, and psalmody; by retaining just so much ceremony as may fan the flame of devotion, without extinguishing it under the cumbrous load of absurd or unnecessary form; has modelled her frame, without debasing it by external pomp and gaudy rites, the appendages of Pagan orgies. .... And can there be found men, who, having once held intercourse with God in a Liturgy so pure, so spiritual, and so comprehensive, close this holy volume of devotion, and seek, in a corrupt communion, a strange form of worship? To such would we say, If your souls have any relish for what is sublime and pure; if you have any understanding of what is simple and impressive; if you have any delight in seeing, during the hours of prayer, all the attributes of God developed, and all the mysteries of redeeming love displayed; cast not too hastily from you these pearls of prayer, and beware of impoverishing your souls by withdrawing from a Church so purely apostolic.--Pp. 39–41.
In specifying the general grounds on which attachment to our Church is founded, the author before us touches upon some of the damnable heresies which the Church of Rome holds, and which render salvation in her communion“ very doubtful and hazardous." The monstrous tenet of transubstantiation, and the idolatrous adoration of the Virgin (for idolatrous practices do constitute idolatry, whatever some men of prelatical dignity have asserted to the contrary), the invocation of saints, and “ all the trumpery” of that scarlet
VOL. XII. NO. X.
whore, pass in review, and receive our author's severest chastisement. The peroration is well wrought, and, but for our want of space, should be quoted in these pages.
We wish Dr. Fancourt's Sermon a wide circulation ; and as to the eloquent Preacher himself, in parting with him, we beg leave to apply his own words, upon another topic (see Sermon, p. 50), to himself, and to assure him that he is, in our judgment, of the number of those defenders of the faith, the salt of the earth, and subordinate instruments of perpetuating those blessings, which their Christian bravery would fain support.”
66 who are
Harmonies Poétiques et Religieuses.
Par A. DE LAMARTINE, Membre de l'Académie Française. Bruxelles : chez Franck, Libraire : chez H. Tarlier, Editeur, 1830. En deux tomes, 12mo. Reprinted from the Paris Edition.
The name of Alphonse De Lamartine, the most accomplished poet of the day, in France, must be familiar to many of our readers; and doubtless his productions have obtained for him, on this side of the Channel, that esteem which genius always consecrates and claims, wherever and whenever it may be found. The “Dernier Chant de Childe Harold," the “ Chant du Sacre," and a variety of other pieces, have made the author of the pretty volumes before us, in some measure,
the redeemer of the character of his associates in Apollo; for assuredly he ranks high enough in the scale of poets, to have disproved that sweeping censure, which has denied to the French the capability of exhibiting a true poetic mind. Our present purpose is not, however, to eulogize M. De Lamartine, but to introduce to our friends his last publication, the title and the style of which bring it within the sphere of our appropriate jurisdiction. And in so doing, we have peculiar satisfaction; for the sentiments expressed, after all due allowance for the character of the writer's
creed (a creed, by the way, essentially poetical), are such as to allow us to make mention of the work, otherwise than as a literary curiosity; for though in the days when the blasphemous and disgusting Berenger is idolized by his countrymen, it must be pleasing to see the most vigorous intellect amongst that people, whose religious feelings have never stood in the way of their worldly career, and of whom too many are, we fear, sunk in the depths of a most heathen infidelity, dedicating itself
to the cause of Christianity, and offering up its noblest efforts as incense on the altar of the
As poetry, the contents of these volumes will not be without interest; as “ Harmonies poétiques et RELIGIEUSES,” they cannot but delight. They are comprised in four books, the first and third consisting of eleven Harmonies; the second and fourth, of thirteen each. To enumerate them here may be out of place; we merely mention, that they in great measure unite the wildness and vigour of the author's prototype, Byron, with the softening and devotional calm of MONTGOMERY [not Robert, but JAMES], to whom we would commit them, for the advantage of those readers, who, enamoured of the English bard, know nothing of the French. We shall conclude this brief notice with two or three extracts, which we confidently trust will be satisfactory witnesses
Qu'elle s'élève à toi de désir en désir,
De toi, mon Dieu, son seul espoir !
of our truth, as well as a sufficient guarantee for the pleasure to be afforded by an attentive perusal of the volumes themselves.
The following passages are taken from the tenth Harmonie of the first book, entitled, Poésie, ou Paysage dans le Golfe de Gènes. Mais où donc est ton Dieu ? me deman
dent les sages. Mais où donc est mon Dieu ? dans toutes
ces images, Dans ces ondes, dans ces nuages, Dans ces sons, ces parfums, ces silences
des cieux, Dans ces ombres du soir, qui des hauts
lieux descendent, Dans ce vide sans astre, et dans ces champs
de feux, Et dans ces horizons sans bornes, qui
s'étendent Plus haut que la pensée et plus loin que
les yeux !
Noyez-vous donc, mes yeux,
dans ces flots de tristesse; Soulève-toi, mon cour, sous ce poids qui
t'oppresse ; Elance-toi, mon ame, et d'essor en essor Remonte de ce monde aux beautés éter
nelles, Et demande à la mort de te prêter ses
ailes, Et, toujours aspirant à des splendeurs
Tom. i. pp. 112-116. We will not injure the effect of these extracts by an attempt at translation; we leave them to the judgment of all true lovers of poetry.
O Dieu, tu m'as donné d'entendre,
Dont la parole n'est qu'un bruit!
charmes ! Miroir éblouissant d'éternelle beauté, Pourquoi, pourquoi mes yeux se voilent
ils de larmes Devant ce spectacle enchanté ? Pourquoi devant ce ciel, devant ces flots
qu'elle aime, Mon ame sans chagrin gémit-elle en moi
même ? Jéhova, beauté suprême ! C'est qu'à travers ton cuvre elle a cru te
saisir, C'est que de ces grandeurs l'ineffable
harmonie N’est qu'un premier degré de l'échelle
Le Culte Domestique ; Sermon sur ces
Paroles du Livre de Josué, chap. xxiv. ver. 15, “ Pour moi et ma maison, nous servirons l'Eternel." Par J. H. Merle D’Aubigné, M. D. S. E. Pasteur, Président du Consistoire de l'Eglise Evangélique Protestante Française et Allemande de Bruxelles. Paris : H. Servier. 1827. pp. 31. Price 1s.
We think we hear some one of our readers exclaiming,
then, affairs on the continent are not so bad as we thought them !” A Sermon on Family Worship, from a pulpit in the Catholic city of Brussels, has certainly some claims to attention. This is the last published discourse but one of its eloquent author, Mr. Merle D'Aubigné, than whom a more liberal, pious, or enlightened preacher does not exist. We have noticed it because of its merit; and because we see how anxious are sincere Protestants abroad to inculcate the exhibition of sound and practical family religion. It was, perhaps, with a view to exciting emulation in this respect, that we placed the present notice in our work; and if it succeed in awakening attention to this necessary duty, we shall be absolved. M. Merle divides his discourse into two heads, the