« PreviousContinue »
and, what is of far deeper import, destructive of the soul then be the issue what it may, as ordered in the everlasting councils of him who never errs, you will have delivered your own souls; and if the people then love to have it so, they will have but themselves to thank, when they feel, too late, the fetters of Rome to be again around them, and the wrath of Heaven on their country.
To the clergy may I not, then, humbly say, “While you cease not to teach and preach the truth as it is in Jesus,' be also watchmen as well as shepherds; point out impending dangers ; protect as well as feed the flock. Be yourselves on the look-out; detect the open or the secret foe; and when you see the wolf coming, then, like true shepherds, you will not shrink from sounding the alarm.”
And you, my brother laymen, what can you do to turn that tide of sentiment and action which is setting in towards Rome? First, let me conjure you to ascertain that you are yourselves really built upon the true and alone foundation for a sinful man to rest upon-" Jesus Christ and him crucified.” And having this hope in your own hearts, “ contend earnestly for the faith once delivered to the saints,” that neither you nor your children may again be brought under the grievous yoke of papal bondage. .
Disentangle yourselves from the present too greedy pursuit of tem, poral gain, which to the mass of influential men in this country leaves them hardly time to wage—and in a great measure unfits them for the Christian warfare. Be valiant for the truth; hesitate not to use all your influence in your families, your daily walk of life, and as citizens of Protestant England, to maintain inviolate your country's protest against the aggression or return to power of what you know to be a false and apostate Church. Let your voices, your votes, your every act and deed, testify that you value that liberty and prize those blessings purchased by the blood and sufferings of those “s of whom the world was not worthy." Call upon your clergy, here and elsewhere, to stand boldly in the breach; and do you, as Christian laymen, manfully support and encourage them in the contest between the truth of God and the errors of a false and fatal system. In a large metropolitan parish like Islington much might be done, if done promptly, wisely, and boldly. Surrounding parishes would follow our example, and a formidable array of faithful clergy and truth-loving laity might be marshalled, which might, under the blessing of God, prevent further inroad upon our still nominally Protestant Constitution.
May I then conclude with the earnest request that the Vicar and his brethren of the clergy will immediately bring before their people, in some definite and well-considered shape, a plan whereby we can as a parish show
First, That we are not ignorant or heedless of what concessions have been already made to Rome, and consequently what we Protestants have lost;
Secondly, That we are not either ignorant or heedless as to what Rome is still seeking to gain, or what our rulers of every party are prepared to grant; and,
Thirdly, That we are determined, trusting to an Omnipotent and Omniscient God for help and guidance, to do our part in resisting the
further progress of Popery, and the abandonment of Protestant principles, upon the wretched plea of expediency or false liberality, and to rescue our country and our religion from the assaults of those who would betray the one and ruin the other.
IRELAND AND ITS MISERIES, TOGETHER WITH THE ORIGIN
AND CAUSE OF ASSASSINATION IN THAT COUNTRY. TAE history of Ireland presents the sad retrospect of scenes of rapine, murder, and every enormity, unequalled in any country in the world professing to be civilized, and to hold the benevolent doctrines of Christianity. This terrific state of the community, it is certainly of the highest importance to investigate, and if possible to trace the cause, in the hope that, if the deep-seated and festering sores can be probed to the bottom, some bold, humane, and skilful hand may be found able to apply a remedy.
Its origin I ascribe to Popery; and by the Pope, as head, I believe that it is kept up, through the bishops, priests, and monks—friars and nuns, white, black, and grey, &c. &c.-through all the multifarious grades of that scourge of the human race, which form the body politic of Rome.
And, first, I would beg to call the attention of my readers to the northern Protestant provinces of Ireland, and to mark the contrast between them and those immediately adjoining where the Popish religion prevails—" to look on that picture, and on this.” In the one we perceive harmony, industry, wealth, contentedness, and good order; in the other, assassination, idleness, squalor, and famine, with its attendant train of disease. Here is a remarkable fact, which may well rivet attention.
Again, it is notorious that the poor stultified peasantry—aye, and not they alone-attach the very last importance to the confessional, and to the absolution of their priests; being taught to believe that there is no entrance into heaven without their aid, and that with it any crime may be committed with impunity, and that they, as culprits, may deny upon oath, in the most solemn manner, the most heinous acts, even murder itself, provided they can obtain for their crimes the absolution of the priest before the last award of the law is put in force. This appears to be the case beyond contradiction by the confession and exposé of Rev. Mr. Ryder, a converted priest. In proof of this, and in corroboration of Mr. Ryder and others, it is highly deserving of remark, that notwithstanding the many thousand acts of assassination, and black crimes in addition, perpetrated by the ignorant and revengeful multitude, of which the priests must have been cognisant, not one of these reverend or right reverend gentlemen have ever come forward, to stay this torrent of bloodshed by turning Queen’s evidence. Here, then, is an explanation of the difference in the condition of Protestant and Popish provinces, and an additional proof that the Pope, the bishops, and the priests are the origin and upholders and exciting cause of all the evils which desolate Ireland.
· But it is asserted that the confession of crimes by individuals to the priest is a sacred trust, not to be challenged on any consideration. If such be the case, if there be any warrant of Scripture for believing this to be the case, let the passage be cited. But Scripture is not inconsistent with itself, and we read in Scripture that the Almighty denounces his severest displeasure, not only against the dishonest man and the thief, but also against that man who consents by his silence to the crime of the thief. (Psalm 1. 18.) How much more, then, against the perpetrator and abettor of murder! But we have had numerous instances in Ireland, of the priest's denouncing men from the altar, for reasons best known to themselves, and have seen that murder has quickly followed such denunciation. “ Shall I not be avenged on such a nation as this? saith the Lord.”
In short, were it not for the confessional (of which it has been justly said, that it is too exquisite a piece of wickedness for the devil not to have been the author of it), the shocking crimes which disgrace Ireland (over a great part of which nominally Christian land are found deeds which leave the acts of the savages of the Polynesian Isles in the distance), we may confidently say, a happy change would speedily take place; for I verily believe that the natives, just as they are taught, are susceptible of good or ill, and are withal a generous race.
But now comes the momentous and most difficult question, how is the plague to be stayed ? how is this most disgraceful and treacherous state of society to be purified and reformed ? It may be (and it is, no doubt) difficult to eradicate, by any measures, crime thus, as it were, naturalized nearly from time immemorial in the country; but I think such heavy blows and great discouragement might be dealt against the perpetrators as, in progress of time, to produce the desired effect. And, first, I would propose that an Act of Parliament be passed, making it a transportable offence for any priest or others, under any pretence, to conceal the knowledge, in any, of the intention to commit crime, on account of which the law awards a capital or transportable punishment against the offender. In short, let the punishment annexed to misprision of treason be extended in favour of the subject, and not be confined to the sovereign. In the sight of God, murder is alike heinous on whomsoever committed. Second, let every priest be obliged to keep a list of those of his congregation who confess to him, with a minute of their confessions; and, on the conviction of a murderer, let the priest be obliged to produce his minutes. It is well known that a Papist in Ireland will not commit murder unless he is assured of having the priest's sanction, and at least absolution after the offence. This Mr. Ryder has undeniably made manifest, and indeed it was notorious before. Third, after the culprit has proclaimed his innocence on the scaffold, let there be no retiring with the priest for the purpose of being absolved from his last lie. Fourth, in the event of murder following a denunciation from the altar, let the priest who had denounced his fellow mortal be on conviction transported for life.
In suggesting these, the only remedial measures which offer at present, I do so in the confidence that good would result, and that if some such laws be not now enacted, others much more stringent will ere long be demanded in the progress of events; unless, indeed, the
Romanists succeed in getting their iron heels on the necks of Protestants, which may God in his infinite mercy forbid! I have no more doubt that a struggle for our lives and liberties is at hand, than I have of its having already taken place in Spain, in France, in Belgium, in Germany, in Poland, in Austria, in the Tyrol, in Italy, in Ireland, and in other countries out of Europe; with what success let the page of history and the present state of these countries declare. If we in this favoured land, with all these examples before us, are still blind to the plots of Papists, and the continual undermining by them of our Protestant faith, the time must arrive when the increasing numbers of our deadly foes will induce them to take up the knife.* Then, indeed, but late, it will be manifest that as a nation we have been deceived, and fallen under a judicial blindness. But let the traitors, and guilty compromisers with traitors, tremble.
The harmony which subsists in nations on the continent of Europe, between the Protestant and Romanist portions of the community, as in Prussia and in Austria, suggests to some the idea that the same harmony should be found in Ireland; and they, therefore, hope that by sacrificing all to Popery, there must result peace and harmony. But the ample page of history proves such ideas to be but vain imaginations. We need only take into account the great elementary difference which exists between the despotic power exercised in these nations and the freedom conferred by equal laws in Great Britain. Well does the Popish priest know that if, in those countries, he endeavours to incite the subject to rebellion against the monarch, or to stimulate the ignorant to plot against the state, or against an individual, he would instantly, and even on mere suspicion, find himself in limbo, at the dictum of a Metternich or Hardenberg, in one of the dungeons of Olmutz, or Spielberg, where he would have abundance of time allowed him to repent him of his pranks. Well do these right reverends, reverends, and the laity, their abettors, with the Pope at their head, know when and where, and to what extent, they may go, in plotting and in undermining the laws and safety of any realm, which stands in their way in the acquirement of universal domination over the bodies and souls of men. At present they find they cannot do better than share power and pelf with the despot, and so they play his game, which is their own in part. Let me conclude by entreating the attention of statesmen to the serious consideration of this momentous subject, and that in all its bearings; assuming it as a first principle that success is dependent on the blessing of God, and that that blessing can be expected upon such measures only as are undertaken in conformity with his will; and also remembering that the supporting and countenancing of any system of idolatry must necessarily be a high provocation in his sight. As to the great body of this nation
at present the first of nations under heaven (but deserving that name only from having been the defender of the true faith)-I still feel assured that they love the religion for which their ancestors fought and bled, and are still ready to follow their example in the defence of civil and religious liberty.
PACIFICATOR. * In Italy, eighty Protestants were, one by one, taken out of a house, laid down, and had their throats cut, just like slaughtered sheep. See M'Crie's
RAMSGATE PROTESTANT ASSOCIATION.*
FROM THE “ KENTISH OBSERVER.” We gave in our last a brief account of the proceedings on the formation of this Society. We now redeem our promise of supplying an outline of Mr. Lord's excellent address on the occasion, and which circumstances prevented our publishing last week.
Mr. Lord commenced by observing that it must be a matter of wonder to some, that in this, the third century from the blessed Reformation, there should be any need of such societies as that for which he then appeared. It might have been thought that the whole country, both in Church and State, would have been one vast and united Protestant Association. But there was a tendency in the mind of man to depart from Divine truth, and to be forgetful of blessings, whether nationally or individually enjoyed ; and time, instead of strengthening the feeling of gratitude, too often effaced all remembrance of the services received. Such was one of the infirmities of human nature. It might, too, have been thought by some, that the intelligence and enlightenment of the nineteenth century would have dissipated the dark superstitions, as many contended it had changed the anti-social character, of Popery. But intellect alone would not qualify men rightly to know and worship God. Nor did possession of the truth guarantee its continuance. History, ancient and modern, sacred and profane, concurred in giving illustrations of these truths. We there read of enlightened nations, as they are termed, given up to idolatry
of empires formed to be overthrown-of churches planted and destroyed. What guarantee had we that the same should not take place in our own land ? If we, as a nation, abandoned the truth, we must expect, both in Church and State, to share the fate of those empires and churches to which he had referred. At this moment he believed we had just reasons to apprehend dangers from Rome. The activity of Popery, compared with our own supineness-not to say betrayal of the truth-all combined, as exemplified amongst themselves, t to help on the cause of Popery. Good, however, might yet again be educed from evil, and the example of Roman Catholics serve as a stimulus to our Protestant fellow-countrymen. He entertained no hostile feelings towards Roman Catholics, but he believed the system dangerous to themselves and the country. The Protestantism for which he contended was not of a party nature. It was not to elevate one or to depress another of the political parties, but to defend and promote the cause of true liberty and true religion, both at home and throughout the globe. He could not, therefore, consent to see Protestantism treated as a merely political question ; it was strictly a religious one. It was to maintain a religion vindicated by the glorious Reformation, and purged from those incrustations of error, with which the Church of Rome had caricatured her. Our religion was not then made, but reformed. We build, as the primitive Christians did, upon the Holy Scriptures, their guide before councils had been convened,
* See Intelligence, post, p. 464.
+ Two of the Curates at Ramsgate had recently apostatized from our Reformed Church to the Church of Rome.--ED. P. M.