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wonted activity, and brought into a more open collision—when motives of action heretofore unknown, or known only to be disapproved and rejected with contempt, find once more advocates, and start from their obscurity into public notice, and society is raised in arms against itself—when confidence in one another is sorely shaken—when continued efforts are made by subtlety or violence to dismember the empire, subvert morality, and destroy religion, or substitute Popery in its stead,—it becomes every sincere and good Protestant, every lover of his country, every friend of peace and order, every one attached to good government and pure religion, to rescue the bright jewel of their faith, their Ioyalty, and liberty
from the grasp of anarchists on the one hand, or the tyranny of Romish power and her sympathizers on the other. It becomes the most indifferent to give their attention, and behoves us well to consider our present position, our past history, and our future prospects.
If, indeed, in the moral, theological, and political world, we are to regard events, as taking place, by that which, in reference to the physical and material world, atheists would term a fortuitous concourse of atoms—if, with the Turk, we are to look upon all things as happening by a blind fatality, or in compliance to a course fixed by superior power—a course which no aim or effort of man can change or vary—or must consider with the Socialist, that we are so surrounded, operated upon, and controlled by circumstances, that volition is taken away, and thereby responsibility removed—then, either we shall not recognise the existence of a Supreme Being, his superintending providence and control over the affairs of men—we shall not believe history, or derive no instruction from it--we shall not be led to exert ourselves by the hope of averting evil, nor, by the prospect of producing good, be led to the attempt of what is great and excellent.
But we are not such atoms, fortuitously receiving shape and motion; we are not so pre-ordained by a blind fatalism to evil or good, and so surrounded by circumstances that we cannot in many respects control them.
No, things are not so; we read history to gain instruction from its pages; we would make the past our schoolmaster. From it, as from philosophy, teaching by examples, we would learn what to shun and avoid, what to follow and pursue. We regard the responsibility of man as yet remaining, and by all the mighty consequences which that responsibility rightly used or abused involves, we would call upon and urge him to the discharge of his high and noble duties—those duties for which, by the moral and intellectual endowment of his Creator, he is qualified, and in which his true happiness and real glory must consist. We discard the idea of fatalism, and know that to a certain extent man is free in his thoughts, free in his words, and free in his actions. We assert that where he cannot originate, or avoid originating, he can yet, in many instances, by God's freely given grace, control; because that upon this freedom of man is grounded his responsibility, and upon that responsibility the justice of future reward and punishment.
“ Not free, what proof could they have given sincere
Of true allegiance, constant faith, or love,
Not what they would ?” We believe man, then, to be by his very nature a free, a responsible agent, responsible to his fellow-creatures, responsible to God. How tremendous are the interests which this responsibility involves !!
With an entire consciousness of these consequences we would enter in brief outline on a subject of pressing importance, leaving it for our readers to answer the enquiries, to fill up the outline, and to perform the duties which in consequence may seem to be theirs. To those who accede to the principles thus laid down, and to the deductions drawn from them, we need say but little in order to carry them with us in our future observations. They with us will take Scripture as the guide, and view public transactions by the light which that lamp of Divine truth sheds upon the maze of worldly politics.
The master spirit of the movement of the present day is Popery, wielding even democracy as its instrument for a time, though shortly, it may be, to be destroyed by it.
To the Protestants of England, of Ireland, of the United Empire we would say, Your religion is in danger; your liberties are in danger. A call is now made upon you to throw around them the shield of your protection; to resist Popery in all its forms, and detect its glozing sophisms; to withstand its clamorous invasions of your rights as freemen and as Christians; to resist with the same ardour which animated your ancestors; like them to struggle, or like them to die, in defence of the faith once delivered to the saints.
These are times of no ordinary nature; they are stamped by features peculiarly their own. The voice of party should be silent; the clamours of faction should be hushed, and all the energies of your souls be bent to resist the invasion of the common foe. This is no vain-no empty declamation. We have no selfish end to gain; no interest to serve, apart from that of our common faith and our common country. What good has resulted from all the concessions hitherto made to Popery?
Divest yourselves, then, for a moment of prejudice ; draw off your minds awhile from local and party interests. Take a wide and comprehensive view of our position with respect to that great question which may ere long be-ny, which now is, the absorb
ing one amongst divines and politicians of our own country, causing deep searchings of heart, not only amongst them, but amongst men of every state and kingdom of Europe; yea, even of the whole world.
Popery—the master-piece of Satan," the corruption of Christianity, the deceiver of nations, the predicted apostasyt—is once again emerging from the tomb! With the corruptions of centuries around her, the abomination of the earth is now continually going forth to deceive the nations. Strengthened by repose, she now goes out against the true followers of the Lamb. Like a giant refreshed with wine ; like a bear robbed of her whelps; or the wild beast of the forest deprived by the hunter of its prey,
the dark spirit of apostate Rome traverses the globe, seeking to gain in America what she has lost in Europe, and to recover in England the power wrested from her at the Reformation. With an activity hitherto unknown; upon a scale more magnificent than earth ever yet beheld,—and with a zeal worthy of a better cause she plies the work of your destruction; and should you desert your own cause—should you at this moment, so pregnant with importance to yourselves, your children, aye, and your children's children-outdone by craft, or overcome by intimidation-abandon the truth, and be reconciled to that system of error from which your forefathers struggled to be free, you will have laid the fatal axe to the root of your national glory and prosperity. Not only by your base compromise and betrayal of the cause of truth, wili
you have alienated from you the favour of the Most High, but the very power you seek to appease, far from being conciliated, will be exasperated the more against you, and the arms of Rome herself, now held out so maternally to embrace you, will be the very first to impose upon you that yoke which neither you nor your fathers have been, or can be able to endure.
Deadly in its own nature, yet, at the first approach, destitute of every appearance of noxious properties, it may, like the graceful foliage of the upas tree, attract the curious or wearied traveller to its grateful, its refreshing shade—heedless of his danger, though he reposes in the sleep of death. The syren voice may fall sweetly upon the ear, but to those deluded by its seductive charm it is a funeral knell, which tolls an immortal being to eternal woe!
When Rome has gained you over to her cause, or gained over you the power after which she is seeking, what think you will be her conduct towards you? Victorious—-whether by perfidy or force—she will display all the tyranny of spiritual despotism; she will, as far as she can, burn your Bibles, invalidate the orders of your clergy, unchristianize the whole population of the country, and, like a haughty despot, give you no terms but such as Cecil. Bickersteth.
† See work of Rev. Mortimer O'Sullivan.
are degrading to you as freemen, and ruinous to you as immortal beings. She will deprive you, if possible, of the liberty of speaking or thinking for yourselves. Whether, therefore, as a political or a religious system, Popery must be equally the object of your aversion
Pompous and gay in external ceremony, but destitute of intrinsic good, the Church of Rome may allure to her standard multitudes of those who know not true religion—who mistake the shadow for the substance; repose upon the broken reed, or shifting sands, instead of anchoring in safety upon the Rock of Ages !
When we speak of religion, we speak of that which is calculated by its nature, and has for its object, to promote the improvement of mankind, by restoring man to the likeness of God, who made him, and leading him by faith in Christ Jesus, the only but all-sufficient Saviour of sinners, to eternal blessedness hereafter, when the fleeting things of time have passed away.
If it does not this, or if its tendency is not to do this, it fails altogether.
Consider, then, what Popery is, and, proceeding from effect to cause, and giving an appellation to the tree, from the nature of the fruit it bears, see how far the palm of true religion is to be awarded to Popery.
True religion has for its object the worship of the one true God, through the one Mediator; and all knowledge of the true and acceptable worship of the infinite Jehovah, must be drawn from those sacred oracles of truth which he has given us.
Religion is that worship and service which is due from men to God, and a knowledge of which is to be obtained from the Holy Scriptures.
But Popery worships other objects than the Deity, appeals to other mediators than our crucified Redeemer, draws her religion and creeds from other sources than Scripture, even from tradition. To her, therefore, we cannot award the palm of true religion. And what, in other respects, is this system, to which we are now called to bow down? what is this Popery, to which we are required to yield the homage of submission ? Is it some new fabric, woven in the modern loom of Liberalism and freedom? Nay, is it not rather the same Popery which persecuted your forefathers for daring to resist her, and burnt them for exercising the sacred right of private judgment, and asserting liberty of conscience? Is it not the same whose deeds of perfidy and cruelty are recorded against her in the blood-stained page of history? Is it not the same which has taught Sovereigns and their people to know that there is a power upon the earth greater than the majesty of either; a power which, under the sanctified name and aspect of religion, can pander to evil, promote crime, and loosen instead of strengthen the tie of moral obligation ?
Shall we be told again that her nature is changed? See the testimony to the contrary, given from the Island of Achill; from the settlements of Dingle and Ventry, from Malta, Madeira, Tahiti.
Mark how recently in Ireland the sentence of excommunication,-always terrible to those who believe its power,--has been fulminated, and though the law of the land has vindicated the right of every man to read his Bible, without being, in consequence of doing so, exposed to personal injury and the loss of civil rights; yet the unhappy victim of priestly denunciation is still exposed amongst his co-religionists, to the severest obloquy and reproach, as well as to serious temporary inconvenience
. Such is the nature, such are the fruits of Romanism. Impure in its morality,-anti-social in its principles,-profane in its theology,--novel in its creed,--and anti-scriptural in its whole construction, what title has it to be called apostolical and pure? what claim to your veneration and support?
Yet this system, thus denounced by the word of Divine truth, thus stigmatized in the page of history, thus producing some of the worst of evils, even in our own day, destructive of social happiness, and blighting national prosperity, do many of our leading statesmen and theologians fondly wish to endow; as though, by a golden bribe, they could change the nature of idolatry, and render that acceptable to the Almighty which he has so solemnly denounced.
There is but too much reason to believe that the leaders of each party in Parliament are prepared, nay anxious, for the endowment of the Church of Rome in Ireland. The advocates of such a course, urge in its behalf, expediency and justice.
We contend that it is neither the one nor the other. We assert, that to do so is to act in direct opposition to God's holy and revealed will.
Therefore do we now invite and urge our Protestant friends and readers to bestir themselves beforehand-by earnest prayer, and diligent endeavour, to be prepared for those events, the dark shadows of which are already cast before us.
Let them remember how the increased grant to Maynooth took the country by surprise, and, in every instance where their votes are solicited to return representatives to Parliament, let them be careful to elect those who will act as boldly on the floor of the House of Commons as they promise fairly upon the hustings,—men who will defend the civil and religious Institutions of our country, and oppose, ex animo, all and every attempt to endow and patronize Popery.