Page images
PDF

becomes the property of the person to whom it

is bestowed, is there be no legal disqualification; on either side. But the misfortune is, that the'

Catholics and the sramers of the fictitious creed so often refuted, and still forced on them, resemble the Frenchmen and the blunderer in the comedy ; one forces into the other's mouth a food which he cannot relish, and against which his stomach revolts.

Mr. 'Wefley places in the front of his lines,

the general council of Constance, places the '

pope in the centre, and brings up the rere of his squadrons with a consabulation between a priest and a woman, whilst his letters are skirrnishing on the wings. Let us march from the

rcre to the front, for religious warriors seldom'

observe order.

A priest then said to a woman whom Mr. Wcsley KNOWS, " I see you are no heretic : V you have the experience of a real Christian." V And would you burn me P" said she. 94 God U. forbid," replied the priest, " except for the 9* good of the church." Now this priest must be descended from some of those who attempted to blow up a river with gunpowder, in order to drown a city *. ' Or he must

*Among other plots attributed to the Roman Catholics in the reign os Charles the first, this extraordinary one was charged upon them.--See Hume. r ' si have

*have taken her _for a witch; whereas, by his 'own confeffiosh' " she was no heretie." A 'gentleman whom I know declared to me upon his honour, that he heard Mr. Wefley repeat in a sermon, preached by him in the city of Cork, 'thev following words: " A little bird '- cried out in Hebrew,-O Eternity! Eter'f* nity I Who can tell the length of Eternity ? " Iarn then 'of opinion, that a little Hehrew hird 'gave l\/k\Wesley the important: information _ about the fflz'gct and the woman : 'one story is as

interesting as the other, and both are equally .

'alarming to the Proteslant interest. Hitherto it is a drawn battle between us; from the rere then, let us let us advance to the van, and try if the general council of Constan'ce, which Mr. Wesley places at the head of his legions, be' Impenefrable to the sword of truth.

Aster reading the ecclesiastical hillory con

cerning that council, and Doctor Hay's answer,

to Archibald Drummond, I have gone _thro" the drudgery of examining it all overvin St. Patrick's libra*ry, when' Mr. VVesley's letters made their appearance; The result of my researches is', a conviction that there is no (itchdoctrine as " Violation of faith with heretics," authorizedby that council. Pope Martin V. whom the fathers of that council elected, pub-'

lished a'bull, wherein hev declares, u That it is " not

V not lawful for a man to perjure himself on'

" any account, even sor the faith." Subsequent,

pontiffs have lopped off the excrescences of relaxed casuistry. '

The pope's horn: then are not so dangerous as to induce Mr. VVesley to sing the' lamentations of Jeremiah the prophet, deploring the loss of Jerusalem, or to send us from London an Hebrew elegy to be modulated on the key of the Irish Ologone. " Their souls are pained, " and their hearts tremble for the ark of God 55. ** Tell it not in Gath, publish it not in the " streets of Askelon ; lest the daughters of the " Philistines rejoice, lest the daughters of the f* uncircumcised triumph."

This same elegy' refounded through Great Bn'tain a little before the ark of England was" destroyed, the sceptre wrested out of the hands'of her king, her pontiffs deprived of their mitres, and her noblemen banished from her senate. Thus, as the Delphian sword slaughtered the victim in honour of the Gods, and' dispatched the criminal on whom the sentence of the law was passed, the scripture is made' subservient to profane, as well as sacred purposes. It recommends and enforces subordinal don, and, at the same time, becomes an arsenal'

_* Defence of the Protestant Associarion, p. 14

rom"

from whence faction takes its arms. Like Boileau's heroes, in the Battle of the Books, we ransack old councils; we disturb the bones of old divines, who, wrapped up in their parchment blankets, sleep at their ease on the shelves of librariesy where they would snore for ever, if the noise of the gun-powder upon an anniversary day, or the restless hands of pamphlet writers, industrious in inflaming the rabble, did not rouse them from their number. Peace to their manes! The charity sermon preached in Dublin by Doctor Campbell, the anniversary sermon preached in Cork last November by Doctor laMalliere, and the discourse to the

Echlinville volunteers, by Mr. Dickson, have t

done more good in one day, either by procuring relief for the distressed, or by promoting benevolence, peace, and harmony amongst sellow-subjects of all denominations, than the solios written on pope Joan have done in the space of two hundred years.

l must now sound the retreat, with a design to return to the charge, and to attack Mr. Wesley's first battery, on which he has mounted the canons of the council of Constance. If I cannot succeed from want of abilities, but not from want of the armour of truth, I am sure of making a retreat, in which it is impoffible to cut me off. For in the very supposition that the council of Constance, and all the councils of

' the

the world, had defined " violation of faith with ** heretics," as an article of faith, and that I do'

-not believe it, a violation," then, " of faith

" with heretics," i's no article of my belief. For, to form one's belief, it is not 'sufficient to

iread a proposition in a book. Interior convic-'

tion must captivate the mind. The Arian reads the Divinity of Christ in the New Testament, and still denies it : would Mr. Wefley assert that the Divinity of Christ is an article of the Arian saith? If then V violation of faith with "' heretics," be the tcffizm fidei, the badge of the Roman Catholic religion, the Roman Catholics are all Protestants, and as well entitled to sing their psalms, as Mr. VVesley his canticles. I would not be one hour a member of any relisi gion that would profess such a creed as Mr. Wefley has sent us from London.

You may, perhapskbe' surprized, Gentle-si

men, that the introduction to a serious subject should savour so little of the gloom and sullen-' ness so familiar to polemical writers ;' or, that the ludicrous and serious should be so closely interwoven with each other. "

[graphic]

But, remark a set of men who tax the nobisi Iity, gentry, and' head clergy of England' with degeneracy, for n'ot d'egrading' the dignity of their ranks and profeffions. Remark them ex-l posing their parchments in meeting-houses and:

vefiries

« PreviousContinue »