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BUONAPARTE AND THE POPE.
TO THE EDITOR OF THE ORTHODOX CHURCHMAN'S MA
GAZINE. SIR, T COULD wish to call the attention of our Roman catholic 1 brethren to the present state of their church, disgraced and apostatized as it farther is by a most abominable coaJition with SACRILEGE, REBELLION, and INFIDELITY. If, however, I should fail in bringing their minds to a serious consideration of this “ mystery of iniquity,” I trust that a few observations upon it will prove beneficial to the members of our own church, and impress them with a deep sense of gratitude for the many temporal and spiritual blessings which they enjoy.
We have seen the head of the church of Rome, the successor of those baughty pontiffs, in whose presence the mighty once trembled, and the sovereigns of the earth prostrated themselves to kiss his feet ;--we have seen him who has been accounted most holy and infallible, the director of the faith and consciences of all in his communion, quitting his capital, and attended by his conclave of Cardinals, repairing to consecrate by his benediction, and by the most shocking prostitution of the sacred rites of religion, a Murderer--a Usurper--a Midnight Assassin-and an avowed Infidel, as if he were the legitimate sovereign of the French nation ; while the real inheritor of that august crown, and the lineal descendant of St. Louis, and of a long line of Christian kings, is driven about as an outcast, and forced to depend for a subsistence upon the bounty of those whom the Roman pontiff and his church account heretics ! .
Where now then is the infallibility; where is the holiness, the virtue, the gratitude, and the consistency of the Papal power ?
What Romanist can contemplate this low degradation of the head of his church, and this vile profanation of the most sacred rites of his religion without a blush ?
Surely, if he has any consideration at all, he will perceive that either the Pope, by his recent conduct at the coronation farce of Buonaparte, and of the creature called Josephine, has been guilty of a wilful insult upon his
religion, religion, or of the most criminal pusillanimity. The latter is the only possible excuse that can be set up for him. But is this a sufficient apology for a man who professes to be a successor of the Apostles, and a leader of the faithful? If he has not spirit enough to be a martyr in the cause of truth and righteousness, if he can travel with a pompous retinue so many hundred miles deliberately to do that which his soul secretly abhors, he must be a wretch infinitely beneath contempt. An Apostle, it is true, once erred, but it was suddenly and inadvertently, and quickly followed by repentance ; the present instance, however, must have been the result of much consideration, and though many dangers surrounded the Pope, he had opportunities to escape, and if not it would have been a virtue ; and it was his duty, indeed, to have resisted to the uttermost the impious demand of a sacrilegious and sanguinary usurper. Had the Pope forgotten the intrepid conduct of St. Ambrose, who, when the Emperor Theodosius after putting to the sword the inhabitants of a captured city, essayed to enter the cathedral church of Milan to receive the holy sacrament, resolutely refused him admission, and kept him from communion till proofs were manifested of his repentance?
I scruple not to say, that in comparison of the present scandalous conduct of the Pope, that of the worst of his predecessors is but trifling.
Such men as Alexander VI. avowedly came into the Papal chair on corrupt principles, in times when men ordinarily vicious, were comparatively good ; but that in a season when the semblance of virtue and religion, at least of integrity and consistency is required in men of high stations, especially in the church ; a person calling himself the vicar of Christ and the successor of St. Peter, should thus consecrate, (if we may so prostitute the word) Murder, Rebellion, Fornication, and Impiety, by pronouncing a blessing in the name of the holy and undivided Trinity upon the atrocious beings who still wallow in those horrible crimes, is a paradox which has been left for our “ eyes to see, our ears to hear, and our hearts to wonder at.”
Let the Roman catholics in these realms seriously con. sider this heinous apostacy, and whether a continuance in submitting to the authority of a pontiff who has thus leagued with the enemies of religion and humanity, be compatible with the duty they owe to the laws of God
and their country. If the Pope has sanctioned robbery, atheism, and murder, in the person of Ali-BUONAPARTE, it follows, by an unavoidable inference, that he has himself forfeited all pretensions to the character of truth and uprightness, and therefore ought no longer to be obeyed by those who call themselves catholic christians. Dec. 18, 1804.
ON A PRACTICE IN PRIVATE BAPTISM. TO THE EDITORS OF THE ORTHODỌX CHURCHMAN'S
MAGAZINE. GENTLEMEN, VOUR correspondent MERVINIENSIS, page 329, de
| serves the thanks of the clergy, for exposing a practice which one would have thought impossible to be adopted by any minister of the Church of England. I mean the omission of the prayer for the consecration of the wuter in private baptism. That the separation of persons and things for pious uses, from the earliest ages, has been accompanied with solemn dedication to God, I think we have sufficient proof, not only from the various histories of the church of God, but also from that volume which is the foundation of our faith and hope. Under the law, many things were by dedication for sacrifice set apart for God's service, and nothing could be used till it had been so set apart. The tabernacle, the vessels, and the water OF SEPARATION, were duly prepared by sacrifices, &c. for their respective purposes. The priests were consecrated in the same way, and the animals selected with singular attention. We have expressly recorded, the prayer used at the dedication of Solomon's temple, as well as the sacrifices that were offered : and we have no reason to suppose that prayer was not a necessary appendage to all solemn acts of worship. Under the gospel, the example of Christ at the institution of the Eucharist, and the practice of his Apostles, are suffici. ently plain. « THEY BLESSED AND BRAKE." By analogy, we may reasonably conclude that even the rapid stream of Jordan (and other waters used for baptism) was not used without imploring the blessing of God. WHEATLY informs us, that the enemies of our church have allowed the consecration of the water to be a very ancient custom. He also informs us, on the authority of
Cyprian, Ambrose, and Basil, that when any particular water was at any time used in the administration of bap+ tism, they were always careful to consecrate it first by solemn invocation of the Holy Spirit. Our church, therefore, has good ground for retaining this rite, as a necessary part of the sacrament of baptism. To apply the epithets improper or indecent to the conduct of such as baptize with unhallowed water, is very little. It deserves a severer censure; for he who deviates in so material a part of our church service, and which has so long been deemed essential, is regardless of the vows that are upon him, and unmindful of the engagements, made at his ordination, to conform to the liturgy of the church, as set forth in the book of common prayer..
Were the question whether water once consecrated may be used again without a fresh invocation of the Holy Spirit? I would answer, that according to the present service of our church, it may not. The prayer does not run now as it did before the last review, “Grant that all the children which shall be baptized in this water,” &c. but “ Grant that this child now to to be baptized,” &c. By which it is clear, that our church only means a consecration for present purposes; and the blessing of the spirit is only implored for the child or children then present; and though the same water be often used, it is necessary that it should on that account be consecrated anew. But this is not the question; as I presume water that has previously been consecrated, is seldom introduced in private baptism. The question seems to be, whether water need be consecrated at all? Our church enjoins it, and that, were there no other reasons, ought to be sufficient for every true member of her communion, until it can be proved repugnant to the word of God, and the practice of the earlier ages of christianity. 'Tis true our church allows latitude to a minister in private baptism, but not such as to exclude the prayer of consecration. The minister is “ to call upon God, and say the Lord's prayer, and so many of the collects," &c. Some collects it requires, and no one will affirm that any others are so proper, so essential, as this in question; or that our church does not esteem the consecration of the water absolutely “and indispensibly necessary to be read before a minister proceeds privately to baptize an infant.” Their conduct cannot be 100 severely reprobated, who, without any prayer, rush abruptly on the solemn ordinance, without any pre
vious address to the Almighty and adorable God and presume to administer bis holy sacrament of baptism, without any previous preparation. To such I would say, consider your ways.* I fear there are those who také unwarrantable liberties in omitting or altering other parts of our excellent service, or in departing from the directions of the rubrick; not considering that such conduct entitles them to the name of Schismatics, and expose them to ecclesiastical censure. Such deviations and alterations endanger our church, rendering the service liable to be changed or omitted, till the whole is so much mutilated and degraded, as seldom to appear in public.
ORTHODOXUS. P.S. I am sorry to have offended the London CURATE by my former communication to you. I should not have sent it had I thought, with him, that no one had any business to meddle with the subject except himself and Mr. Turner. He says he had « confided the friendly controversy to the verdict and opinion of your readers.” If the contending parties are determined to stop the mouths of the whole jury, pray, gentlemen, who is to declare the verdict? The matter in dispute appears to me far more important than the L. C. seems to allow. It implies the question, Were our reformers right or wrong in rejecting the five Romish sacraments? It is a new doctrine to me and many more, that in public controversy (especially in matters of eternal concern) a third person is not to be allowed to give his opinion, or point out what he supposes to be wrong. Your's is a public, an important work, and intended to be the standard receptacle of diVINE TRUTH. It was in search of truth I wrote, without intending either to vex or flatter the L. C. or Mr. T. I shall, however, at the L, C's. request, suppress my observations on the other part of the correspondence, particularly as Mr.T. has so ably supported my own opinion. In answer to one
* Wheatly, in his Rational Illustration, Appendix I. to chap. 7 sect. 3, pa. 383, speaks thus: “ Here I humbly presume to give a hint to mny brethren, that the prayer appointed for the consecration of the water ve never. omitted. For besides the propriety of this prayer, to beg a blessing upon the administration in general; I have already shewed how necessary a part of the office of baptism the primitive christians esteemed the consecration of water."