« FöregåendeFortsätt »
PRINTED AND PUBLISHED BY W. B. JOHNSON, MARKET-PLACE;
EFFINGHAM WILSON, ROYAL-
EXCHANGE, LONDON ;
WHEN a huge edifice is shaken by a small force, it is evident that the edifice itself must be in a very rotten condition; or that the foundations must be giving way. Such is the present condition of the Church of England; for, though it becomes not me to say so, yet it cannot be concealed that my ' Letter to the Archbishop of York,' (dated February 19, 1831, and written in September, 1830,) has produced a practicable breach in the walls of the Establishment. I had anticipated some success in the way of attack, but chiefly because I thought it would be firing the first gun; for it did not escape my notice, that a vast train of artillery was ready for the battle, though there was a sad want of bold engineers to undertake the siege. To my great surprise, however, my own mortar has by itself done no small damage to the main wall of the fortress; and I doubt not, when the other guns are brought to bear on the works, we shall soon enter in with drums beating and colours flying, to plant the standard of the Cross on the citadel of Babylon.
A shilling pamphlet against five millions sterling, (annually received by the Clergy for not preaching the Gospel,) are great odds; but such is the deplorable state of Babylon, that with all its wealth and all its power, it cannot resist even this sinall opposition! Far be it from me, however, to attribute the success to my exertions : I know very well that the whole success depends on the corruption and weakness of that system which I attack; for all that is requisite in this siege, is to tell the truth : let the truth be told, without concealment, and without fear of giving offence, and against such warfare the Church of England has no sort of chance : her corruptions and her abuses are so monstrous, that they need be only shewn to be hated; the only difficulty is to find persons who have the courage to withdraw the veil from the abominations that stand in the holy place.
person who undertakes this task must make up his mind to be excluded from all fashionable society ; ladies and gentlemen like to support the Church, because it is the fashion ; no person is admitted at Almacks' who opposes the Church; no person can go to Court who has displeased the Bishops. War against the Church is, with ladies and gentlemen, considered very plebeian; he that has discomposed the slumbers of the Establishment is not présentable; he that has shattered the nerves of the Prelates is not a man of drawingrooms and dinner parties.
Next, then, to losing caste, is the difficulty of encountering evilspeaking, lying and slandering; for the Clerical party have always large ammunitions of such filth wherewith to defend their fortress. It is their Greek fire, their inost dreaded means of self-defence. This. Greek fire blazes and stinks in sundry reviews and newspapers well known to the public; and consequently you will find, that more than two-thirds of the Clergy are armed with some of these publications. They have no notion of silencing opposition þut by slander, and so much is this weapon dreaded, that all publications against the Church, appear in an anonymous disguise, because the writers have not the courage to face the storm of dirt that is ready for them if they appear openly before the world. But this sort of warfare can only serve its purpose a certain time : lies have their day, but they have their night also. Magna est yeritas et prævalebit.
All this is well understood both by those that attack, and those that defend, the abuses of the Church; so that he who should dare to write such a Letter as the one which appeared with my name attached
to it last February, is looked upon as one in a most desperate situation. All that applaud, applaud secretly; all that revile, revile openly. I have received innumerable letters froin all parts of the kingdom, thanking me for my exertions in the cause of Church Reform, and to all my Correspondents I hereby return thanks; but, I hope they will forgive me, if I have neglected to answer them, for to answer so many letters, would have been a task of insurmountable labour. To my Clerical Correspondents I am in duty bound to express my gratitude for their advice and encouragement, for every Clergyman that has written to me has uniformly approved of my "Letter to the Archbishop, suggesting such further remarks for a future occasion, as the state of their Church seemed to them to require. Many of their hints have been attended to in the following Discourse, as they will perceive.
As, however, it has been discovered that I am not to be silenced by the usual methods adopted to defend the Church, and as it is now pretty well understood that I have both the weapons and the resolution to continue the war to the end, my opponents have taken a new ground : they now cry out, what a want of charity, in the • Letter to the Archbishop,!' 'a sad want of charity! is echoed back from all the Deaneries, and every Stall replies a want of charity !! Thus one would imagine that I, like a hungry wolf, had put to flight a flock of innocent and tender lambs, cropping daisies by the side of murmuring rivulets I beg, however, all these lovers of pseudocharity to remember, that not every animal which wears a lamb-skin is indeed a lamb, and that even the scriptures talk of wolves in sheep-clothing. That I have caused exceeding great dismay to these masquerading wolves, is the joy and consolation of my heart; for I wish to be considered neither more nor less than a Lollard, whose duty it is to God and to man, to endeavour by every means to bring all the abominations of the Church to a speedy and irrecoverable ruin. I know what charity is, and I know where it is to be exercised ; and in private life I pray devoutly that the 13th chap. of St. Paul's 1st Epistle to the Corinthians may be my daily and hourly guide : but in matters that touch the honor of my Master's house, I pray only for courage, constancy, and determination; and