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as Innocent III; before whose legate, seated on a throne, a haughty English Monarch once threw himself upon his knees, in a posture of the most abject servitude, and resigned England and Ireland to God, to St. Peter, and St. Paul, Pope Innocent, and his successors ; and agreed to hold his dominions as feudatory of the Church of Rome. Now, the Roman Pontiff, though his claim to the civil allegiance of all Christendom has never been withdrawn, is glad to hold on to the scepter of a petty Italian Province, through the conservative power of foreign Sovereigns. And as for conversions to the Romish Church from those who have hitherto protested against her errors and corruptions, we doubt not that for the last ten years, the current has been setting the other way; and that Rome has lost more than she has gained in point of numbers, by at least ten to one; notwithstanding the few closeted dreamers and sickly sentimentalists, who have rushed from the extreme of Protestantism, and of ultra Evangelicalism, into her embrace; and whose accession to her ranks is to us more occasion of pity toward them, than of envy toward her. And yet we presume that on her list of converts, are some men of really honest though misguided minds ; who, beguiled by subtleties and by false notions of Catholic Unity, have been led astray by just such perversions of ancient history as we have exposed in our previous pages. Nor, are we ignorant of rumors apparently but too well founded, that some nominal Protestants, but Romanists at heart, are still retaining their connection with Protestant bodies, for the purpose of playing into the hands of that juggling system ; and are thus guilty of conduct in which it is hard to say whether meanness or wickedness most preponderates.
As we said before, however, we feel but the slightest apprehensions of danger from the aggressive movements of the Romish Church. Far deeper solicitude is awakened in behalf of her own members, long held in the most servile bondage.
That she can, for any great length of time, maintain her spiritual despotism over them, and continue her outrage upon the well established principles of the Catholic Church, and upon human rights, is next to impossible. Already she complains that her hold upon her members
, especially in this country, is growing weaker; and she knows that she has lost the power of the civil arm to make her anathemas other than harmless and contemptible. And if her thoughtful leaders ever raise the inquiry, why it is, that her system is gradually but surely losing its power upon the masses of its votaries, let them know that it is the inevitable consequence of the false position in which she has placed herself. Catholic in her name and pretensions, she has in her solemn Councils virtually denied many of the main doctrines of the Catholic Faith; and there is not enough spiritual power left in her system, on which she can with any safety rely.
Neither are we without strong hopes of a thorough reformation in the Church of Rome. The Gordian knot by which the Tridentine Council bound that whole communion indissolubly to so many barefaced contradictions and gross absurdities, needs but the sword of an Alexander to do its work, and Rome, surrounded as she is, must and will take a new position in the Church of God. The decisions of that Council are evidently the greatest apparent obstacle in the way of thorough reform. But there is here no real difficulty. Let the members of the Romish Communion at once take the ground,--and any other position is, to say the least, ridiculous,—that that Council was in no sense a General Council, and hence that its Decrees and Canons have no binding authority upon the Church. That a reform will soon be called for, we almost venture to believe. There has been already, practically at least, and for which she is indebted to the Reformation of the sixteenth century, a great change for the better. Compare the times of Pius IX, for example, with such a period as that of the reign of the infamous Borgia, Alexander VI, or of Leo X, and surely we can not look forward to the future without some hopeful anticipations. There is, however, work enough still remaining to be done ; and there must be a deep consciousness of Truth and Right in the hearts of her members, which three hundred years ago Rome could not awe into silence, and against whose remonstrances she is utterly powerless now. She has had within her fold whole classes of men, whom, like the Jansenists, she could scarce retain ; and there have again and again been those high in office, who have plead the necessity of a thorough reformation of a system whose corruptions they had both witnessed and experienced ; and from which some of her recent converts have turned with loathing. And now with that open and thorough discussion of Catholic truths and principles, to which her present policy calls us, and which we must see to it that she does not escape, her Bishops will, we trust, come forward to claim as a sacred heritage, those ancient prerogatives, on the ruins of which the Papacy has been built up. We are no soothsayers, and yet, we forewarn them that, unless a Reformation, thorough and complete, is effected, like the English Reformation, upon principles established in the early Councils of the Church, a reformation will be forced upon her from without, the ends and issues of which can be foreseen only by the eye of Omniscience. Her eyes may be closed to such a prospect, and the lesson of the last three hundred years may be lost upon her, but yet the result which we have predicted is inev. itable. Let the rulers of that Church then enter upon a noble work of reform. Let them renounce the Papacy, and, holding Christ the only Head, restore the ancient rights of the Bishops. Let them abolish the Confessional, with its impurities and its usurpations. Let them cast off at once the foul idolatries with which their worship is polluted. Let them restore the Holy Sacrament of the Lord's Supper to its integrity. Let them take off the prohibition from the free examination of God's Holy Word. Let them conduct the public services of religion in a language which the people can understand. Let them no longer be guilty of " forbidding to marry.” Let them return to a union with that Church from which they have unlawfully separated, and thus escape the sin of schism. Let them look into the blood of Christ as alone meritorious, and efficacious to take away sin. Let them cast a way that mass of ceremonies, which engender infidelity on the one hand, and superstition on the other; and which obscure to the eye of penitence the only satisfying object of Faith. And thus this Church, purified from its gross corruptions, shall be saved perhaps from total excision ; and shall prove a grand instrument in the recovery of a lost world to Christ.
THE PAST, PRESENT, AND FUTURE.
The present number completes the first Volume of the Church Review AND ECCLESIASTICAL REGISTER. A retrospect of our past labors suggests a few considerations, which we beg leave in this place to lay before our readers. The circumstances which first led to the establishment of the Review, have been stated on our previous pages. The difficulties incident to such an undertaking, have been frequently suggested to us, and have never been over-rated. They arise mostly from the various conflicting elements, which during the past few years have been in violent agitation among us. And yet, never were there such prospects opening before the Church at home and abroad, as now. Never was the Mace. donian cry so earnest. Never, since Apostolic days, was it more needful that Christian Watchmen should see eye to eye. Never were sound, faithful exhibitions of truth, so imperiously called for. The Church Review was established upon the broad basis of the Catholic Creeds. Its spirit was designed to be like the true spirit of the Catholic Church, comprehensive and tolerant ; in matters of opinion allowing of latitude ; in matters of Faith contending with unyielding firmness. With the Prayer Book as its exponent of Scriptural Truth and Order, it adopts not the Shibboleths of any school or party; and would aim at uniting more closely, all who rally heartily around the authorized standards of our most Holy Faith.
Our motto has been, in the language of St. Augustin, “in essentials, unity ; in non-essentials, liberty ; in all things, charity.” A basis less comprehensive than this, is necessarily pervaded by a contracted and sectarian spirit. We are grateful to be able to say, that the objects of the Review have been approved more extensively than we dared to hope. Letters are before us from all parts of the Church, even from those who, in private opinion, differ more or less widely from each other, recognizing the position of the Re. view, and commending it. It will not, however, be supposed that this tolerant spirit, which it is designed shall pervade our pages, can be suffered to degenerate into indifference concerning questions of Faith and Order; nor must it be mistaken for that latitudinarianism now so increasingly prevalent, which sacrifices acknowledged verities for an imaginary and unVOL. 1.-NO. IV.
real unity; a unity of mere negations, instead of that only basis of unity provided for the Church, or adequate to her wants, viz. : the Catholic Faith and Order, witnessed in the Creeds and Practices of the Apostolic Church.
As to the ability with which the Review has thus far been conducted, our pages will speak for themselves. While the commendation bestowed upon the work by leading Journals, American and English, is gratefully appreciated, yet the Editor deems it but just to say, that no small share of this commendation belongs to those distinguished and learned gentlemen who have made our pages the medium of communicating their thoughts to the public. That there is strength in the Church to sustain such a work, can not now be doubted. There is within her communion an amount of talent, and of ripe scholarship, never yet developed; and which will we trust make an abiding and grateful impression upon the present age.
In respect to the future, we have a word to say to those who have kindly extended to us their patronage, both of the Clergy and Laity. That the Church needs a Quarterly Review, is universally acknowledged. That, properly conducted, it may be of immense service, is also certain. And yet the present work can not be successfully sustained, without a largely increased support. We ask, therefore,—not for ourselves,—we ask it for the Church,—that we may be enabled to bring to the service of the Review hereafter, a strength of talent, and a degree of efficiency, now within our reach, and such as shall make the work all that its best friends can desire.
That our past labors have been full of imperfections, none can be more painfully conscious than ourselves. . Something is perhaps due to the difficulties attending the incipient steps of an enterprise of such magnitude. That “the school of experience” has not been wholly unimproved, is at least possible. That no efforts will be spared, to elevate the character, and enhance the value of the Review, our readers may rest assured. On all the great subjects which pertain to the position of the Church at the present day, as well as those of a more general character, it is intended that its pages
shall possess a decided and permanent value. The list of contributors, who will from time to time appear before our readers
, presents an array of talent unsurpassed by any similar publication in this country.
We here also tender our grateful acknowledgments to those who have kindly given us their counsel; to our brethren of the press, for their friendly co-operation; and to our numerous friends who have assisted in increasing our circulation.