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THOUGHTS ON THE APPROACHING GENERAL ELECTION,
SERIOUSLY ADDRESSED TO THE CONSIDERATION OF ALL CONSTITUENTS.
BY THE REV. G. S. FABER, B.D., MASTER OF SHERBURN HOSPITAL,
AND PREBENDARY OF SALISBURY. When we are on the eve of a General Election, which, for good or evil, will assuredly influence the future destinies of this nation more than any of its predecessors, no real lover of his country, who views the matter under such an aspect, can conscientiously be silent.
I. In the fatal year 1829, I strongly, in a series of papers, pointed out and dwelt upon the impious inconsistency of which our legislators would be guilty, if, after solemnly declaring Popery to be a system of Idolatry, they should vote for a close political amalgamation with the adherents of such a system: a system, be it carefully observed, thus stigmatised as idolatrous, not simply by the Church of England (which the liberalism of the present day might call mere theological partizanship), but actually by themselves, their own proper veritable selves.
1. My warning spread far and wide: and it will always with me be a matter of grateful recollection, that the argument met with the approbation of that eminent and consistent character, the late venerable Lord Chancellor Eldon.
The warning, however, was slighted: and a majority of the very persons, who had solemnly declared Popery to be Ídolatry, voted for and most unhappily effected a close political amalgamation, for better or for worse to the inseparably united parties, with a body of religionists, who, by their own free and public declaration, were pronounced to be systematically guilty of that very sin, which, in Scripture, is marked out as peculiarly offensive to God and as ever provoking the utmost severity of his judgment.
2. According to the confident anticipation of this majority, the healing measure, as it was fondly called, was to bring back a sort of golden age,
All feuds and dissensions were forthwith to The admission of the declared Idolatry to power (for that was the plain English of the silly phrase Catholic Emancipation), in this hitherto Protestant Realm, would make the hearts of the grateful and now fully satisfied Romanists overflow with love VOL. VIII.--November, 1846.
New Series, No. 11.
to those whom they had hitherto diligently anathematized as damnable heretics: and, in Ireland more especially, all in future would be the halcyon days of peace and amity, and harmony and prosperity.
All this was to be effected by the notable project.of an Infidel Political Expediency, which should insult God to his face, by first declaring a system to be idolatrous, and by then forming such a close connexion with it as should inevitably, in the very way of necessary cause and effect, make our future national destiny the same as the future destiny of the declared idolatrous system.
3. What the result of such a mad plan would be, no person could doubt, who read and believed the Bible. This result, however, is now open to the eyes of the whole world: insomuch that (at least, according to common report) even the expediencymongers themselves acknowledge the total failure of a project
, which was to bring universal peace and prosperity upon the empire through the extraordinary medium of offering as gross an insult to Almighty God as the wit of daring men could well devise.
II. So matters went on for some years, quite enough to show the utter, because godless, folly of such absurdly denominated healing measures.
But did our legislators practically learn, from the past, at least secular, if not religious, wisdom?
No, verily. With an infatuation which will cause all future generations to marvel, they deliberately advanced, from bad to worse, from the smaller sin to the greater sin, from the less defiance of God to the more aggravated defiance of God.
1. Hitherto, nothing had been done beyond an immediate political union with what they themselves had declared to be Idolatry: to which union, a political union of the Israelites in Palestine with the idolatrous Canaanites would have been strictly analogous. But, now, this was judged to be an altogether inadequate tribute to the theological merits of the system which they themselves had formally stigmatised. Idolatry, declared idolatry, was not only to be taken into a political co-partnership: but it was furthermore to be theologically encouraged and fostered and aided in its progress by a permanent grant of the public money and by a full recognition as henceforth one of the constituent elements of the Constitution. Previously, it might be said, that we had before us a mere political question, which, so far as direct encouragement was concerned, left Popery as it found it: and, to the best of my recollection, some such argument was attempted to be set up, in the year 1829, against my argument, which was based upon the solemn and repeated declaration of the entire Legislature. But, now, no such plea, miserably weak as it is, can any longer be urged. We have taken the declared Idolatry under our special patronage, with the object of its wider diffusion. It was not enough to leave it to its own resources; with which, under the Christian Dispensation, we have no right, after the familiar fashion of Rome, to intermeddle: our legislators, under the evil influence of an individual who (as it was said of the dethroned Bourbons) seems to learn nothing from experience, have granted from the public money a permanent endowment, to a well-known factious Institution, for the more effectual and more extensive propagation of what they themselves have declared to be Idolatry.
“For the information of those who are not acquainted with the particularities of Maynooth," says Dean Murray in his very seasonable work on Ireland and her Church, “ we now state: that the object of the College is, to provide a supply of priests to offer THE SACRIFICE OF THE MASS, for a portion of the population of Ireland who profess the religion and worship of the Chureh of Rome. Now, this sacRIFICE OF THE MASS is declared, upon oath, by the Queen, Lords, and Commons, to be superstitious and idolatrous; and pronounced, by the Articles of Religion of the United Church of England and Ireland, to be a blasphemous fable and dangerous deceit : unto which sentence, every clergyman of the Church has given his solemn assent, and, ex animo, with his hand subscribed; being convinced, that this protestation, for which the Martyrs of the Reformed Church of England laid down their lives at the stake, is perfectly true and according to the Scriptures. And not only is the Mass an antichristian sacrifice, but the priesthood, which is ordained to offer it, is an antichristian priesthood also. For Jesus Christ, the Eternal Priest after the order of Melchisedek, when he offered himself once and once for all, put an end to all priesthood upon earth to offer for sins; and now, in the tabernacle above, whereinto he has passed with his own blood, and where he ever lives to make intercession for us, retains, in his own person, the same priesthood which is as untransferable and incommunicable to any man or creature, as is his own eternal Spirit of Godhead; the high altar, that sanctified the gift and sacrifice of his human body for our sins. To establish, then, or to perpetuate, in the country, as a Government Institution, the College of Maynooth, is, to oppose Christ himself, and directly to set up and maintain, against him and his unchangeable priesthood, another order of sacrificers, which, not being ordained of God, is, and must be, in its origin and essence, Pagan and Antichristian. When viewed in this light and weighed in the balance of the Sanctuary, how hateful must the conduct of Protestant England appear in the eyes of a jealous God, who searcheth the hearts and trieth the reins of the children of men!”
2. Nor is even this apostatic promotion of blasphemous Idolatry the ultima thulè of our misguided Legislature.
Concurrently with the encouragement of Popery, runs, pari passu, the studious discouragement of Protestantism.
(13) A large grant is made professedly for the furtherance of public education in Ireland, but really fat least, in its practical results) to aid and abet the Popish priesthood in the dissemination of their own principles. Accordingly, any participation in this grant is saddled with conditions touching Holy Scripture, to which no enlightened and conscientious Protestant can assent. The natural result of such an unworthy device was soon evident. With their admirable Lord Primate at their head, that no less admirable body of men, the great bulk of the Irish clergy, expressed the religious impossibility of their accepting any part of the Popery-fostering grant when saddled with thoroughly antiProtestant conditions, and humbly requested that a fair portion of the above grant of the public money might be intrusted to them for the sound Scriptural education of their flocks, unfettered by the objectionable conditions.
What favour did this reasonable request find at the hands of our then Government?
Truly, none at all. It was altogether refused: and the refusal itself was a part of the monstrous system which has been adopted; the encouragement of Popery, the discouragement of Protestantism.
(2.) So again. Bountiful grants are made to Maynooth and for other similar purposes: but the poor pittance allowed to the laborious missionary clergy in Canada connected with the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel, has been discontinued. In fact, judging from the systematic conduct of our Government, we are tempted to suspect, that Protestantism was starved, in order that funds might be raised for the pampering of Popery in Ireland.
(3.) Yet again. For the tolerably evident purpose of gratifying the Romish priesthood, a moiety of the Protestant Episcopate of Ireland was at one fell swoop annihilated. This, per contra, has been followed by a recognition of the intrusive Popish bishops, doubtless as a reward for their meek eschewal of all political intermeddling and their perfect freedom from the character of firebrands.
3. If one could be amused with such a subject, it is verily enough to make a man smile, nay rather to laugh outright, when we note the mode, in which the advances of our timeserving expediency-advocates are received by those, whom they would
fain, by their wise measures, ingeniously conciliate and turn into friends.
The money is accepted: but the favour, by a curious numerical computation of heads, is studiously depreciated; and the easily seen through advances are met by an undisguised contempt, which I am very far from deeming unmerited. So far as
their general conduct is concerned, I certainly feel the least possible respect for the Romish clergy of Ireland; but, if they have a redeeming quality, it is the just scorn, with which they repel the paltry and transparent advances of a degraded Legislature. As men, they must, as they plainly do, despise them: as nominally Protestants
, they must more than despise a set of banded individuals, who first declare Popery to be Idolatry, and then, purely to serve their own ends of an imagined expediency, officiously foster and endow it, while they frown upon that form of Christianity to which they profess themselves to belong. Persons who thus act, must appear to the Papists as even beneath the dignity of a formally expressed contempt. This praise I cheerfully concede to the Romanists : we never, in any quarter of the globe, find them guilty of such suicidal inconsistencies.
III. And now, in the midst of all this impious time-serving, let us cast our eyes abroad and look upon occurrences as they sweep, like gorgeous tragedies, before our eyes.
In respect to the too manifest signs of the times, it is, I thinky impossible not to perceive, that the hand of an offended God has been; and still is, justly stretched out upon us for evil.
Them that honour me, saith the Lord, I will honours and they that despise me, shall be lightly esteemed. • 1. The first act of overt apostasy, that of the year 1829, has been followed, not (as was idly predicted) by the cheerful contentment of Ireland, but by its incessant discontented restlessness. An agitation, stimulating the Romanists of that country to the most bitter and unchristian hatred of England and Protestantism, has never ceased to be carried on, for their own selfish, pecuniary, and political aggrandisement, by a set of sordid demagogues. Wherever an inclination has been shewn, as at Achill and Dingle, to exchange the Idolatry of Popery for the Scripturality of the blessed Reformation, the flame of persecution has forthwith been blown up by an infuriated priesthood: and, instead of the anticipated harmony and good will which would infallibly result from the miserable quackery of the grand healing measure, the Imperial Government has been bearded to its very teeth; and has been even compelled repeatedly to truckle with the basest of mankind, the modern Cleon and his satellites, objects, all the while, no doubts of their own secret loathing and bitter contempta
2. So, likewise, the second recent act of still worse apostasy has scarcely been perpetrated, when famine and a mysteriously insorutable pestilence sent upon the fruits of the earth follow close upon its heels. In ordinary matters, it is dangerous and presumptuous to interpret what may be deemed God's judgments. But the present is no ordinary matter. God, as the moral governor of the world, has been daringly insulted by the successive acts of our Legislature; and evil has promptly and enduringly followed each act.
We may, peradventure, err, in directly connecting the