« AnteriorContinuar »
It cannot be denied, that the Roman Catholic religion, taken theoretically aud comprehensively, contains important truth; for instance, the doctrines of the Trinity and Atonement. Practically, however, these all-precious fundamentals are taken away. They are not held forth prominently to the people, but buried beneath a huge mountain of fooleries and abominations. In these, essentially and by distinction, popery consists : so that, that system is intrinsically mere heathenism ; 1 simply the old putrid carcase of heathenism, covered with the glittering mantle of a mock Christianity. It seems expressly devised with the view to subjugate the popular mind, and augment the power and opulence of the priesthood. To use the language of Bishop Coplestone, «The policy of the Romish Church has been to keep the people in a blind subjection to the priesthood ; and as ignorance, and superstition, and imposing ceremonies, have always been the readiest means of accomplishing this purpose, so has that church not scrupled to employ them according to the power she possessed, till at length the religion of Christ has been made to resemble a political machine, or a heathen pageant, instead of being the guide of mens' lives, and the source of hope and holy comfort to their souls, through faith in the merits of their Redeemer.'
This system, therefore, cannot be amended. It in hand, throws off these follies and abominations, as a man would rend from his shoulders a fool's chequered coat, that had been forced upon him.'-SPIRITUAL DESPOTISM. Pp. 326, 327.
1 See Note XII.
is that superstructure of wood, hay, and stubble which the Lord has doomed to utter perdition. • Therefore shall her plagues come in one day, death, and mourning, and famine; and she shall be utterly burned with fire : for strong is the Lord God who judgeth her.'' Delenda est Roma.
4. We have mentioned three circumstances, that have sadly promoted the advance of Romanism in these countries-namely, the act of emancipation, the intermarriage of protestants with Roman Catholics, and the liberalism and ignorance of professing protestants. We shall now notice a fourth circumstance, which is Protestant Emigration. In this the emigrants, generally speaking, are unquestionably much to be blamed. Instead of dwelling in the land, doing their duty to their country in her hour of danger, in hope of better times; they, in a spirit of impatient indignation, leave her shores; thereby weakening the hands of their brethren who remain, and strengthening those of their adversaries. They take a most momentous step, without consulting Providence, or indeed any thing but their own headlong inclinations. And thus, embarking on the great waters without a warrant from above, they are often visited with the severest calamities. · For this cause many are weak, and many are sickly among them, and many sleep.' Some die on board the vessel ; others are ship-wrecked and drowned ; while multitudes more, arriving on the wished-for
| Rev. xviii. 8.
territory, find there but a lingering death, and foreign grave. They wander about in poverty and wretchedness; or are wounded in their work and become diseased; and when winter sets in, not being furnished with food and raiment sufficient to arm them against the intense rigours of the climate, miserably perish.
But theirs is not the principal fault. That lies on the heads of those, who, by their improper and unfeeling conduct, in a manner compel the others to expatriate themselves. And who are these? First, the demagogues, the political incendiaries, who,
speaking oppression and revolt,' kindle the inflammable portion of the population into such outrageous acts of violence, as render the country almost uninhabitable by the orderly and peaceable. And, secondly, the oppressive landlords; who, neglecting their duty to their people, whom they should live with and befriend, in order to obtain a sufficiency of money to support them in their selfish indulgences, and unbounded extravagance, screw up their
poor tenantry to such extremities of poverty and hardship, as at length snap the cord of endurance,
them to throw up their holdings in disgust. The vacated farms are forthwith rushed into by eager Romanists, who can live on little, and will brook what a protestant will not. And hence it is, that several thousands of our most valuable yeomanry, the very sinews and strength of the nation, have been induced to leave the country, carrying with them capital to a very
serious amount, while popery is pouring itself, like a flood, over districts once exclusively reformed, and threatening eventually to sweep the reformed religion out of the land.'
()! were we true to ourselves - were we one half as zealous in our righteous cause, as our enemies are in their evil, how different would be the state of affairs. But alas! modern protestantism is suicidal. She puts a sword into an assassin's hand, with which to stab herself. Surely this system will ultimately recoil on such landlords' heads with merited retribution ? ?
• Princes and lords may flourish or may fade;
5. But that cause, which unquestionably more than all others has always helped forward the mystery of iniquity,' is the native corruption of the human heart. “ The carnal (or natural) mind is enmity against God.” Spiritual religion is its absolute abhorrence. Hence, as this advances in the world, (for it is advancing,) the world is ' tormented' by it, and account it an intruder, a marrer of its felicity. “They hate the light, because their deeds are evil.” At the same time, man in a certain sense is naturally religious. Generally speaking, he must have a religion of some kind, as the whole history of the species evinces. Here, then, popery most opportunely comes to his aid, with a most accommodating compromise. Having a form of godliness, without the power under it, a person may retain the indulgence of every darling lust, yet quiet his conscience by attending on certain rites and ceremonies. Hence it is precisely suited to the popular taste. Not so gross as naked paganism, it does not offend the person of refinement; while at the same time, it is free from the spirituality which would still more offend his carnal nature. Besides, man is naturally indolent, particularly on religious subjects. He abhors the fatigue of thought and investigation. The Church of Rome, however, undertakes to exonerate from this, by empowering him to commit all to the priest; who, whatever may be the person's crimes, promises him, on certain, not very difficult, terms, a plenary absolution. What a downy couch for a sin-devoted soul to fall back upon!
1 The above observations refer particularly to Ireland.
2 See Amos viii. 4-8.
Thus, from its aptitude to gratify the senses, flatter the pride, and accommodate the carelessness and sensuality of the natural heart, popery must ever remain a favourite with the unsanctified. They may be convinced of its erroneousness in their understandings, but they will still incline to it in their hearts. 1
I'Popery,' according to Mr. Hall, 'in the ordinary state of its profession, combines the “form of godliness with a total denial of its power. A heap of unmeaning ceremonies, adapted to fascinate the imagination, and engage the senses; implicit faith in human autho. rity, combined with an utter neglect of divine teaching-ignorance the most profound, joined to dogmatism the most presumptuous-a vigilant exclusion of biblical knowledge, together with a total