Sidor som bilder
PDF
ePub

implore them to observe and ponder the unmistakable signs of the times. There are deep-thinking, moderate-minded men, who are of opinion, that unless, almost immediately, bold and masterly measures of organic reform be introduced and carried -measures avowedly intended to give a full and fair share of electoral power to the great masses of the people—the venerable form and much-lauded structure of our constitution will be endangered, if not destroyed. The people are a queen-loving people; and they have no malign prejudice against lords, if they can but have, along with them, their rightful share of liberty, and political influence, and power. They have as regards ecclesiastical matters, been for some time past slumbering, but now that they have clearly found out, to their actual annoyance, what is the real character of priestism, whether in or out of the English Established Church, they are thoroughly awake, upon their feet, erect, and ready for most effective resistance. We hope this will be wisely made, and that it will leave uninjured, with regard to our Roman Catholic fellow-subjects, the ever-sacred principle of religious liberty. They who have most reason to complain of the Pope and the new Thomas d Becket, are, as we think, the numerous loyal subjects of her Majesty—the Roman Catholic laity. What is now taking place among this mighty people, in vindication-as they consider itof our national liberty and independence, against a prideful power that is acting as a foreign political foe, may be but a fearful foreshadowing of what the nation will feel and do, when it has thoroughly discovered and felt the full effect of an oligarchical government by 'artifice.'

ART. VIII.-1. Letters Apostolical of Pope Pius the Ninth, establish

ing the Episcopal Hierarchy in England. London. 1850. 2. The Pastoral of His Eminence the Cardinal Archbishop of West

minster. London. 1850. 3. Charge delivered in St. Paul's Cathedral, on the 2nd of November, 1850,

by the Lord Bishop of London, at his Sixth Visitation of the Clergy

of the Diocese. London. 1850. 4. The Roar of the Lion. A Discourse in reference to the recent Mea

sure of the Church of Rome. By A. J. Morris. London : Ward

and Co. 1850. 5. No Popery! The Cry Examined. By Edward Swaine. Fifth

Edition. Jackson and Walford. 1850. 6. The Dissenters and the Papacy. By Thomas Binney. 7. Sacramental Religion subversive of Vital Christianity. Two Ser

mons, preached at Bloomsbury Chapel, on Sunday, Nov. 3, 1850.

By the Rev. William Brock. London: H. K. Lewis. 8. The Romish Hierarchy in England. A Sermon, preached at Devon

shire-square Chapel, on the 3rd of November, 1850. By the Rev.

John Howard Hinton, M.A. London: Houlston and Stoneman. 9. The Pope and the Prelates. By Edward Miall. Seventieth Thousand. 10. An Appeal to the Reason and Good Feeling of the English People,

on the Subject of the Catholic Hierarchy. By Cardinal Wiseman.

London : Richardson and Son. 1850. 11. Romish Sacraments and the Confessional, as taught and practised

in the English Church, and the Duty of the Church at the present Crisis. Two Sermons. By the Rev. H. Hughes, M.A., Perpetual Curate of All Saints, St. Pancras. London: F. and J. Rivington. 1850.

THERE occur in the history of nations certain critical epochs, the right understanding and use of which inaugurate a fresh and a higher career, while their misinterpretation and neglect has ever entailed the ruin foretold to those who have not known the day of their visitation. Such an epoch was that of the Reformation in the sixteenth century. The crimes of Papal Christendom had become so flagrant and so universal, as to cry to heaven for vengeance and to all mankind for their extirpation. Amidst those darkest ages that preceded the dawn, the habitual practices of the Papacy and the clergy were such as the pen of history itself seems to shrink from recording. They resembled less the ordinary depravity of man than the malignity of hell itself—the riot of a trinity of fiends, Moloch and Mammon, and a nameless and shapeless horror, the demon of maddened lust. To the use that was made of that cpoch, when the intellect and the moral sense of men seemed to awake together from the torpor of ages, we owe all the civilization, all the liberty, and all the true religion existing in the world.

From that date commenced the operation of a series of new causes, which have at length precipitated another crisis scarcely less important than the first. Not only has the Papacy, the arch-enemy of religious freedom, mortally smitten, but not entirely subdued, aimed its shafts, as it retreated, against its invaders, but the self-same causes which had for so many ages enthroned the 'man of sin’ were still in operation, though in the bosom of a purer church. The standing evidence of the fall of man, the irreparable reproach' of his intellect and his heart, has evermore been the sin of idolatry. For this, no shapeless logs and no grotesque images are necessary. Its essential virus consists in that debasing tendency to materialize spiritual things under the influence of which anything is interposed between the Creator and the worshipping mind of the creature ;-an obstacle which, from the very constitution of the human mind, soon becomes the substitute for the greater but remoter object. In the lowest condition of human society, the grandest phenomena of nature or the most rudimental productions of art furnish that substitute. But as the progress of civilization multiplies the phases of character and the objects of taste and pursuit, the aspects of this idolatry become proportionately varied. Still whether the substituted creature be the reptile of Egypt or the monster of the East, the virgin, the angel, or the saint, the eucharistic element or the laver of baptism, or even the ideal chain of pontifical succession, and the equally ideal influence transmitted along it; in each and all cases, the substitution itself is destructive of all religion, both in its theory and its operation; and that antagonism is perhaps less malignant in the coarser forms of barbarism than in the more soul-pervading refinement of modern superstition.

Unhappily, the reformation of the Romish religion in this country was from the first so imperfect as to open a wide field for the cultivation of this noxious principle, the seeds of which had been intentionally and abundantly left in the soil. The first and most mischievous of these arrangements, as entailing and involving the rest, was the connecting the power of the State, in the person of the monarch, with any system of religious belief. In this fatal step the dark policy of the Romish Church

was but too faithfully imitated. Indeed, it must ever be a matter of astonishment that the founders of the Anglican Church should not have been warned by the history of Popes, if not by the instructions of Scripture, against the substitution of any potentate, whether temporal or spiritual, in the place of the great Head of the Church. And, perhaps, it is still more wonderful that the character of Henry the Eighth himself did not appear to them sufficiently inconsistent with the position of the first head of the Protestant Church and the first Defender of the Faith, to allow of such an arrangement being originated in his day. From that moment the nascent religion was hopelessly secularized and corrupted ; and with the apostolic model of its constitution, the purity of its first ages, and the prestige of its earliest triumphs, vanished together. Happy if the records of history, confirming the instructions of inspiration, shall at length teach this people that the first step to spiritual prosperity and peace must be the correction of this cardinal and fatal error.

While the Church is, in one of its aspects, a community of persons, it may be regarded in another as the embodiment of a system of doctrines, and hence in placing at its head any human authority whatever, it becomes absolutely necessary to secure its nominal unity by attributing infallibility to that head. Vehemently, therefore, as the doctrine of the Pope's infallibility was opposed by the Reformers, it was manifestly necessary, in constituting a hierarchy at all, to adopt some similar dogma. Hence, by the 37th Article of the Anglican Church, the King's Majesty hath the chief power in this realm, unto whom the chief government of all estates in this realm, whether they be ecclesiastical or civil, in all causes does appertain.' So again, according to the 21st Article, general councils may not be gathered together without the commandment and will of princes ;' while to the Church, as thus constituted and ruled, infallibility is broadly ascribed in the 20th Article—the Church hath power to decree rites and ceremonies, and authority in controversies of faith.' It is, perhaps, superfluous to expose the fatuity of the notion that this attribution of infallibility is at all qualified by the subsequent clause of the article that Yet it is not lawful to ordain anything that is contrary to God's word written,' inasmuch as the authority to decide touching this contrariety lies with the same party which has this authority to decree and ordain. The appeal, therefore, lies from Philip to Philip without any change in his state of ebriety. 'Quis custodiet ipsos custodes

Upon this fundamental approximation to the Papal heresy, the Church of England proceeded to erect so many other correspondences that, as we shall presently show, there remains

between them little more of difference than that which exists in their names, and in the odium theologicum of two powerful and rival factions. After secularizing the Church by the enthronement of a temporal head, the next great consideration was to confer an apparent sacredness upon its ministry. It was obvious enough, that as mere nominees of worldly and profligate monarchs, the common sense of the people would cease to regard them as spiritual functionaries at all. To obviate this, the next fiction borrowed from Rome was that most monstrous one of all, the doctrine of apostolical succession. This pretension could only have been originated in an age of dense and prevalent ignorance, inasmuch as it is falsified alike by history, reason, and scripture. It was, that the gifts of the Holy Spirit conferred by the Saviour upon his immediate apostles, were transmitted through Peter to his pretended successor in the bishopric of Rome, and so descended through the whole line of Popes, unimpaired in the purity of its influence by the filthy channels through which it flowed. That in each of these, it was the source and seal of all spiritual functions; that from it all bishops derived their powers, all ministers the validity of their orders, and the world at large every spiritual blessing it enjoys.

That this trumpery figment should have been propagated by the knavish priesthood of Rome is not surprising. It stands in the same category with the liquefaction of the blood of St. Januarius and the curing of all manner of diseases by the rags, bones, and nailparings of the saints. But it is to the lasting disgrace of the Church of England, that for its own ambitious and unholy purposes it asserted a dogma, which, as is well known to every man of ordinary intelligence, is without the smallest iota of his. torical support.

Still more must we lament that there are to be found dignitaries of that Church in the present day, who so far reckon upon and abuse the blind ignorance of their flocks, as to reassert the absurdity, and to debase the high pedigree of the ministerial office, by tracing it, not to the source which was common to those of whom the world was not worthy,' but to the direct and sovereign transmission of those tyrants and debauchees who were not worthy of the world. *

To give a seeming consistency to this utterly baseless system, the ministers of both churches have been invested with the character of a priesthood. The right administration of all the ordinances of the Christian Church has, under both hierarchies, been confined to them; and, if a circumstantial difference has been effected subsequently to the Reformation, it is one which, on the

See the protest drawn up by the Bishop of Oxford, and adopted by the assembled clergy of that diocese, on the 21st ult., in which this doctrine is broadly maintained as the basis of the validity of their orders,

« FöregåendeFortsätt »