« PreviousContinue »
We, as a Christian people, have too much sought our own glory; and have even fondly imagined we could secure national peace, by attempting to unite with a system directly opposed to his Word. Hence we have been all but vanquished by a foe whom we despised, and our laws and institutions seem crumbling into dust before the anile superstitions of the Church of Rome.
We would remind our readers, that the laws hereby intended to be repealed, were not framed with the view of persecuting Roman Catholics on account of their religion, as suggested by the title of this Bill of Mr. Watson, but to protect the empire from the intrigues of those who, under pretence of religion, sought to overturn, as they are now seeking to do, the Protestant institutions of the empire.
The present Bill differs from that introduced last year. It does not propose to allow Roman Catholic Archbishops, &c., to assume the titles of Protestant Archbishops, &c., in England. If, however, it pass, even as now brought in, it will not only repeal the Act of Supremacy, it will legalize Romish processions in our streets—the establishment of Jesuit and monastic orders.
These processions, whether of the host, or in honour of some saint of Rome, being once made lawful, those who interrupt by too strong an expression of horror and dislike at the idolatrous ceremonies, may be accused, and, for anything we know, convicted of disturbing the peace, especially when Rome shall be at once the accuser, the witness, and the judge.
And thus Protestants will be compelled to witness these idolatrous ceremonies; and when excited at beholding such outrages upon the common sense and faculties of perception which God himself has given — such violation of scriptural principles—such departures from primitive Christianity—such dangerous and soul-destroying errors openly put forward, and blazoned in the face of day, shall attempt to offer any obstruction, they will find that the arm of the law is paralyzed, that it may have power to punish, but has none to protect them in abating so great a nuisance.
Will not the Right Reverend Bishop of London, who has so often endeavoured to prevent the homage of Great Britain being rendered to the idolatrous ceremonies in India, will he not call upon the clergy? Will he not himself powerfully interfere to arouse every feeling of true religion into active, prayerful, practical operation against such efforts to inundate this land of missions with the idolatrous practices of the Church of Rome?
Let Protestants who feel bound to obey the laws and powers that be, take care that those laws be good, or they will find themselves ere long entrapped ; and what many regard as the cobweb power of Popery, of too formidable a kind for them to escape from it.
A slight consideration of the provisions of these Bills will convince any impartial investigator that the real object is not to remove any practical grievance affecting the conscience of Roman Catholics, but to give them a legal right to insult the feelings, and do violence to the conscientious and religious scruples of Protestants.
Our friends will find that Rome has got further on the road to ascendancy than many of them think for. On the subject of Lord John Manners' Bill we were recently favoured with some very important suggestions from one who has had opportunity of hearing and seeing something of the practical workings of Popery abroad. The following is the communication referred to:
“Dear Sir,—It is with the deepest regret and anxiety I find that Lord John Manners has obtained leave to bring in his Bill for the alteration of the Mortmain Laws. I have been professionally informed that one of the most painful offices that lawyers are called upon to perform is the drawing up of wills for the dying, whom disease has rendered incapable of so serious a duty. Can no Member be induced to demand that à Committee be appointed to examine medical men and lawyers as to the state of men's minds in general previous to death, and that a report be made upon it in the House, and that the reading of Lord J. Manners' Bill be deferred until such statistic information be obtained as shall better qualify the Members to decide on co momentous à question.
66 When we reflect upon the number of diseases which entirely incapacitate the mind before they destroy life, and how much sickness in general enfeebles the powers of thought, it does not seem to me too much to ask of reasonable men, desirous of just conclusions, Why should this nation be about to legalize that which is morally unjust, and which the experience of other countries already sufficiently condemns ? The plea is, for charitable purposes, but the individual acts consequent upon such alteration of the law, would too frequently be acts of selfishness and fraud.* Three months' is too short a time previous to dissolution to ensure that charities, such as those alluded to, are not the result of superstitious terror, or the desire of human applause, to be purchased at another's sacrifice, and the beneficence which curtails the means and comforts of our natural heirs, taking from them what should have been the fruit of our own self-denial, must ever be too questionable to be classed among the acts of upright charity.
“ You may remember that I told you I was credibly informed that in Naples, the Order of Jesuits alone collected in five years 800,0001., viz., 5,000,000 ducats; and when we observe that Lord John Manners's Bill is proposed simultaneously with Mr. Wat
* This Bill is intended (sec. 1) to repeal 9 Geo. II. c. 36; to empower (s. 2) persons to give property generally for religious and charitable purposes; (s. 3) to provide that will or deed of land, for religious or charitable uses, may be made three months before the death of the testatoror grantor.
ral enfee ask of region be a boxperience
is, for by others of strankenheir bi
son's Bill for the Removal of all Roman Catholic Disabilities, involving, therefore, the admission of the Jesuits, the influence at work and the ends in view are at once obvious.” * * *
We subjoin a communication from an eminent medical practitioner, whose views we have heard, on several points, confirmed · by others, as to the propriety of allowing persons to make wills in favour of strangers, or for public or religious communities, to
the 'exclusion of their heirs or relations, within a short period - previous to their death. * “ Now, the propriety or impropriety of such wills being considered valid, must depend, first, on the condition of mind of the testator; second, the influence used to procure the execution of such testament. To judge of the first, it may be useful to consider, if the diseases which prove fatal can be arranged in classes, which are characterized by peculiar symptoms, and if such diseases affect the brain, and thus disorder the mental faculties. I consider that inflammations, fevers, and disorders of the digestive system, constitute a large portion of the diseases which prove destructive to life. In inflammation of an important organ, you have acceleration of pulse and severe pain, with disturbance of brain. In fever of an aggravated type, you have invariably great excitement of the brain, delirium (frequently of a low muttering kind), with comparatively calm and tranquil intervals; and in both these cases, I, as a medical man, would never witness a will made in favour of the parties mentioned, to the injury or deprivation of the family. When disorders of the digestive systein are of long standing, or occur in persons of a melancholy temperament, or with a predisposition to cerebral congestion, the patient is, pro tempore, insane,-is, in my opinion, in an unfit state to dispose of his or her property by will, often, even, to settle his or her pecuniary affairs; and as all persons labouring under hypochondriasis, or whose mental faculties are for a time disturbed, have to submit to more or less restraint, and this has to be sanctioned, and frequently exercised by the relatives, it is manifest that the displeasure of the invalid will be excited against such parties ; and I have frequently seen patients who, to a strange professional gentleman or a clergyman, would manifest no marked symptoms beyond what is vulgarly denominated nervousness,' and yet be, in my opinion, incapable of making a proper will. There are, also, a large class of patients who are excessively exposed to improper, undue, (and, at present unlawful) influence, who might easily be induced or compelled to sign a will, and yet be unacquainted with its contents, and unaware of the consequences.”
Instead of such a Bill becoming law, we should like to see some Honourable Member move for leave to bring in a Bill to prevent the abuses which we fear already exist with regard to the disposition of personal property, by the last wills of those who, from sickness or superstition, are placed almost like children in the hands of their ghostly advisers.
::- MONTMORENCY.-A ROMAN CATHOLIC TALE....
(Continued from p. 75.)
- CHAPTER III. ' . . . . v BEFORE returning to Clara, whom we left in anything but a satisfactory state of mind, we wish to introduce a family destined to form a conspicuous part in our history. This family consisted of the Honourable Mrs. Cleves, younger sister of Lady de Montmorency, and her two daughters, Frances and Clarice. Frances, the elder, was an heiress entitled to a large fortune left her by an uncle, only on condition of her remaining devoted to the Romish faith. It would be unjust to call her unamiable, yet she was certainly far less beloved than her younger sister. We will however allow the sisters to speak for themselves, by relating a conversation which passed on the day when Clarice, who was two years younger than Frances, commenced her seventeenth year.
“Well,” said Clarice, “the die is cast! and Father Adrian is really coming to reside with us as confessor, priest, overseer, director, inspector-general, or what name can be found to embody these terms in one. Well, our house will be altered, if he be once established here. No more balls, no journeys to Paris, --no more jokes at the expense of the worthy saints ! Propriety, gravity, decorum the order of the day. Dear. gentle mamma completely led by the superior mind of her infallible guide. You, my worthy sister, first and last at your devotions, freely confessing all but how completely you are weary of long expositions, and poor Clarice unable to act the dissembler's part, continually incurring the displeasure of the holy father by her ill-timed levity.” A smile, almost amounting to contempt, curled the lip of Frances: she however replied not. “Now tell me honestly for once, dear Frances, are you not sorry we are to have so prudent a guardian to'prevent the possibility of our falling into error moral or intellectual ?"
“I cannot be sorry," said Frances, “ for anything that our parent approves." . .
: . “ Dear, obedient daughter, not sorry even to receive no more sealed letters, and read no more heretical books from one whom I mention not, lest he should eclipse him whom it seems like the Eastern princesses, you are not to see till the happy day of union.”
A crimson flush passed across the brow of Frances, and lighted up her dark eye with unwonted brilliancy. “ Cease, Clarice, such foolish trilling; verily, there is in some people an inherent fondness for the sound of their own voice, though neither sense, wit, nor kindness proceed from their lips. Father Adrian's coming will indeed be a blessing, should he succeed in inspiring you either with a little more reverence for your religion, or respect for your friends.". . “Forgive me, dear sister, I did not mean to offend you ; but my foolish spirits always mislead me; yet if I have really hurt you, I shall not easily forgive myself.".'
“ Hurt me, Clarice ! except the pain such trifling always causes on your account, what can you have said to hurt me ?” replied Frances, while the deeper tinge of crimson seemed to have called in question
the truth of her words. Clarice said no more, and soon after left the room. Frances for a moment pressed her hand to her temple, as she said, “It must not be ; religion, duty alike forbid it.” She then mechanically resumed her employment.
Months passed by, and Father Adrian (now established at Ardennes, the name of the hall and village in which Mrs. Cleves resided) had made all and more than all the alterations that Clarice had playfully predicted. He belonged to the order of the Jesuits to which he was devoted, and was employing all the powers of a fine mind and most polished manners to promote the cause of error : he was sedulous in the discharge of all his duties, and indefatigable in his visits to the poor. There was, however, that about him which inspired awe and commanded obedience ; he had travelled much, seen much of human nature, and knew how to make ordinary minds quail before him, Yet Father Adrian was not cruel, he wished to promote universal happiness; he felt pleasure in drying the orphan's tear, and administering comfort to the broken-hearted ; above all he longed for the salvation of his flock; for this he rose early, and late took rest, and bitter would have been his disappointment had a voice from Heaven assured him it was “but lost labour,” for the road along which he toiled, and in which he sought to lead his flock, led not to the pastures of the Heavenly Shepherd, led not to the better land of promise, He told his flock indeed of that land, and warned them of the city of destruction in which they dwelt by nature ;-he told them there was one way, and only one way, of escape--one Church, out of whose pale there was no salvation ; that Church, we need not add, was the Romish Church, so full of errors, so full of corruptions, so grievously departed from the simplicity of the Gospel. Oh, had he known Him, who says, I am the Way; had he first entered the fold by the door, the Chief Shepherd of the sheep ; had he given his people to drink of the pure stream of Bible truth, instead of satisfying their thirst with the muddy pools of Romish tradition, then how many souls saved by his ministry might have blessed the hour he first proclaimed to them the way of salvation. But to resume our narrative. Father Adrian had not been long at the hall before he discovered that one of the family was prepared to yield him an unreseryed obedience, and evey to go beyond the rules he prescribed. This one was Frances, who from the day of his arrival, spent her time in a round of self-imposed duties. We stop not here to analyze her motives, perhaps they were hardly known to herself ; but we shall not be censorious if we express a fear that her good works were done to be seen of men, and thus she had her reward. Clarice, on the contrary, seemed totally indifferent to the opinions of Father Adrian, even to take a pleasure in ridiculing those duties for which he most commended her sister. Mrs. Cleves had early introduced her daughters to fashionable society and public amusement, in which Frances had appeared to take quite as much interest as her sister ; but now she determined to withdraw herself from all society, and one morning, in the presence of Father Adrian, abruptly informed her mother she could no more be guilty of wasting her time in such vain and idle pursuits, adding she had already misspent too many precious days, and intended to atone for