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time of his visits, more reserved towards me. I also noticed the child was less frequently in the room, and its innocent caresses seemed to awaken feelings more acutely painful than formerly. It was just a week before Mrs. Granville died, when I called to see her, and was told by the servant she was engaged with the priest and a strange gentleman. I was not admitted till the next day, when I found her more excitable and nervous than I had ever seen her; she was reclining on a couch with the window open, which reached to the ground, when little Lucilla, who was playing in the garden, gently crept in, and climbing my knees, threw her arms round my neck. The unhappy mother burst into tears, and exclaimed, “ Take her from me, I cannot bear the sight-I have ruined, I have ruined my child !" A violent fit of hysterics ensued, which painfully shook her tender frame; but no other word would she utter in explanation of her meaning. Clara, I will not needlessly harrow your feelingsMrs. Granville died; her child was conveyed to a neighbouring convent, and the mother's property was voluntarily, freely given to save her soul, to purchase heaven, to rescue her from eternal misery
For more than a month after Mrs. Granville's death, we heard much about the number of masses said for the repose of her soul, after which her name seemed forgotten, and was seldom mentioned; but her fate made a deep impression on my mind. I have little doubt that the terrors of another world were pictured in vivid colours to her excited imagination, and that the hope, if not the certainty of atoning for past transgressions, and procuring the blessedness of heaven by bequeathing her money for charitable purposes, led her to deprive her infant orphan babe of the fortune justly her due. My heart again more deeply revolted from the doctrine of the efficacy of masses and prayers for the dead; they appeared to me then as clearly contradictory to reason as I have since seen them to be to revelation.
LIFE IN A CONVENT. BY SAMUEL PHILLIPS DAY, FORMERLY OF THE ORDER OF THE PRESENTATION;
AUTHOR OF “MONASTIC INSTITUTIONS; THEIR ORIGIN, PROGRESS, NATURE, AND TENDENCY.”
- At every step, Solemn and slow, the shadows blacker fall, And all is awful list’ning gloom around.”
We have fallen upon evil days. Our moral atmosphere is impregnated with the malaria of by-gone times. The leprous spirit of the dark ages has taken possession of the present generation. Holy Scripture has lost its authority; tradition usurps its place. Monasticism, that relic of impiety, which centuries ago should have found an everlasting tomb, rears its haughty front, and presses its antiquity as a claim for our recognition. What! is the meridian blaze of the nineteenth century to be tarnished by a gloom so fatal? Is its glory to be totally eclipsed ? Is a protracted night of darkness and despair to succeed a day so brilliant and so cheering ? There is a pestilential disease agonizing the mind of the people, urging them to deeds which their forefathers would have scorned to think—and die ere they would perform! But the children fancy themselves wiser than their progenitors; and he would be a Solomon who could undeceive them. Nothing short of bitter experience can turn the pernicious bias of their dispositions. Rome, fearless, and sanguinary, long endeavouring to darken the world by her own influence, has, at length, summoned satellites to her aid, and OXFORD ranks as a star of the first magnitude in her planetary system. Strange! that where the crystal river of truth rolled majestically onwards, the murky waters of error should mingle with its flow and corrupt its fountains,—that the grand luminary of the moral world, should shed glowing beams and streaks of darkness. In this the uniform laws of nature are outraged ; and whatsoever is opposed to nature's harmony, is likewise opposed to the God who created it; for “ Order is heaven's first law." In the retrograde movement of Oxford, the ordinary rules of nature have been violated.
A monster is the result. And every man who values what is equitable, and noble, and freeborn, should strive to crush the spurious creature in its infancy; and thus prevent it from plaguing the world at mature age!
The taste of the day is vitiated. Frivolity attracts many worshippers to her shrine, whilst the temple of truth is rarely entered. It is not what instructs the mind, but what enchants the senses that is sought after. Wisdom's ways are no longer “ ways of pleasantness." The sober realities of religion are recklessly bartered for gewgaw ceremonies and superstitious parade. The loud peal of the organ speaks more forcibly than the voice of God: for men are derout only in the cathedral, where the glimmering taper would fain exclude the beams of day. Asceticism is again evoked from its sepulchre: and " veiled nuns” and “ cowled men” are regarded as creatures of unearthly mould: whose mission it is to restore universal freedom, harmony, and peace. Men are sceptical of everything but error, and acredit everything but truth. For,
“A faint erroneous ray, Glanc'd from th' imperfect surfaces of things,
Flings half an image on the straining eye.” Thus they regard what is antagonistic of liberty as the safeguard. And monasticism is viewed through an inverted lens. Men see the body but cannot view the heart. They behold the tinsel, but will not strip off the disguise. Hence they fall down and worship the puppet of their fancy, unconscious of their being concerned in its formation. Pitiable delusion! Disastrous mistake! Judicial blindness ! But will the voice of one who has been behind the scenes have any weight ? Will it serve to dissolve the infatuating spell, or tend to absorb the mists that bedim and obstruct their vision ? If so, no richer gratification can reward our labour; nor do we desire a greater boon.
I am fully convinced that the monastic system has given birth to “*as much real wretchedness, as much secret guilt, as much spiritual, aye, and actual, substantial wretchedness, as the scenes of public life ever produced.” The chains with which it binds its votaries are galling. The yoke it lays upon their shoulders presses them to the earth. But it is not the body alone that it prostrates : the mind also it crushes and subdues. And this revolting system is lauded as the guardian of religious truth, and the friend of freedom! Execrable wickedness! And can mankind believe the daring lie ?
From the iron trammels of this bondage I have, thank God, been released! The strong spell that attached me to such a master-piece of delusion is now dissolved. The fetters that held the noblest part of my being are now broken. And my spirit, once surrounded by the impenetrable gloom of captivity, now exults in the glorious light which heaven-born liberty sheds, like a halo, around it. And,
“Never shall tyranny lend to dissever,
The love that I bear it—’tis stronger than ever !” The fervent true devotion of my heart I present at the honoured shrine of liberty, and powerfully actuated by its love, I am induced to espouse a cause so divine, by exercising my pen, in order to pourtray the absurdity, the folly, and pernicious effects of the monastic state,-impressed by the potency of Luther's remark, that “Error chiefly becomes formidable from its concealment, and a detection of falsehood dispels its charm.” For this cause I have written ; and for this cause I shall yet speak.
The “march of intellect” is advancing apace. True. But is it not Rome's object to cause it to recede? What has she done in the struggle for so noble an advantage? She has but laboured to annihilate it! If England be marching forward, Rome is marching backward. Slowly, it is true, because she is labouring to drag this great nation with her!
Knowledge, whether of a divine or philosophic aspect, is decidedly unfavourable to the genius of monachism. The monastic system had its origin in darkness. Its complicated machinery was constructed and arranged during the dark ages, and it still derives its existence from dark influences, so that light, information, science, and inquiry, are ungenial elements, perfectly unsuited to its condition, and irreconcileable with its aims. Hence, it hates the light, because it is not of the light: and loves obscurity and ignorance because they partake of similar properties, and are branches of the same upas tree, that disseminates around misery, devastation, and death,-impregnating with its virulent qualities the moral atmosphere of nature; blighting the fairest work of God, and annihilating the brightest hope of man ! And, like the fabled Pandora, who, led by a fatal curiosity, opened a casket given her by Jupiter, when out of it flew all the evils that desolate the earth,—this hell-born system has emitted its evil genius, and thereby entailed misery indescribable upon thousands of the fairest forms, and the purest minds, and the most soaring spirits, upon whom angels may well delight to gaze! Nor has even hope, which remained at the bottom of the casket, a dwelling here! For within this region, “ peace bleeds, and hope expires.” The inscription which the Italian poet saw, when in imagination he entered the regions of despair, may well be written in flaming characters, upon the portals of every monastic edifice in the land
“Lasciate ogni speranza, o voi che entrate.”
(To be continued.)
THE PROTESTANT ELECTOR.
“ The Church of Rome may flourish in the country which it ruins."
The present times are most eventful. It is felt and confessed by the wisest and the most experienced that a crisis is at hand.
Our baffled statesmen, worn out by their long contests with Popery, -ashamed of their past defeats,—but without manly boldness enough to confess their errors and retrace their steps,- seem resolved to rush for protection to Rome; and to call in the power of the Pope to aid in governing the subjects of Queen Victoria, rather than to throw themselves upon the Protestant energies of the country.
Our theologians,- in whom, by virtue of their sacred office, the majority of the people of this country have been wont to repose confidence,-have, with a few noble exceptions, instead of cmulating the example of the Seven Bishops, stood aloof whilst the wolf was ravaging the flock. They have, unhappily, as a body looked on in silence, if not in apathy; and even where the alarm has been given, the ecclesiastical trumpet has sent forth so uncertain a sound, or a note so feeble, that it has been almost unheeded, if not unheard ; and those who sought for reasons to avoid the conflict have availed themselves of that uncertainty, or feebleness of sound, to excuse themselves from coming forward to the battle.
As patriots, and as Christians,—as lovers of our own country, and desiring the advance of Christ's pure religion throughout the globe, we deplore this sad state of things hinted at rather than described.
Our religion makes us loyal to the Crown,—to revere the ministers of our faith,—and to respect the office, even where we cannot approve the policy or principles of those who, in the providence of God, have been called upon to exercise the functions of their respective offices.
But shall we be bound hand and foot and delivered over to Popery? Will the Protestants of this country witness without strong remonstrance the efforts now being made to reconcile their country with Rome? We believe-we know they will not. What, then, is to be done ?
From theologians who mislead, and from statesmen who betray, we turn to the Protestant electors of the United Kingdom. With them, under God's blessing, it rests to say, by their votes at the approaching election, whether Popery shall be endowed or encouraged by us. To them we say, your own interests, and those of your children, are at stake: you and yours must suffer if bad laws are made; the more so, as you have the power of returning those who may make good laws. When laws are framed by human authority, not sanctioned by, but opposed to the laws of Him by whom alone kings reign and princes decree justice, they are sure to bring down not a blessing, but a curse upon those who make them.
We have assisted in replanting the tree of Popery uprooted by our ancestors, and its baneful shadow seems rapidly bringing a blight upon the peace, happiness, and prosperity of the country.
Several constituencies have recently avowed their own conviction of this, and announced their determination to return Protestants faithful to their cause. Why should not other cities and borough towns follow the example of Liverpool, Manchester, Exeter, Reading, Bodmin, &c. ?
To assist our brother Protestants in carrying out this work the “ Protestant Elector" is announced. It is for them we labour, not for ourselves ; and if they value the existence of a journal which shall with brevity and faithfulness chronicle passing events, and seek to promote the great cause in hand, they will see the importance of aiding this publication. Let those, then, who approve the object announced the principles on which we would have the policy of this yet great nation conducted—let them aid us with their best energies,-let them circulate our paper, let them assist us with their literary and pecuniary contributions. The work is great—and the time is short,--the crisis urgent. By prompt, prayerful, united, energetic, efforts, much good may yet be done through the Divine blessing, and much evil averted.
A Protestant journal is now published and to be continued three days in a week, for fourteen weeks, with an especial reference to the approaching general election. The name of the paper is “ The Protestant Elector," price threepence; the size eight pages quarto.
Those of our subscribers and friends desirous of aiding in this movement are requested at once to intimate their willingness to do so by becoming subscribers.
It will be obvious that there is no time for delay; and as the amount for the fourteen weeks will be but 10s. 6d., it is hoped that some friends of the cause in every borough town, county, and division of county, will at once forward their names as subscribers. . · Letters to be addressed to the publisher of 6 The Protestant Elector,” care of Mr. Macintosh, Great New-street, London.
THE GENERAL ELECTION.
TO THE ELECTORS OF THE CITY OF LONDON. A GENERAL election is at hand. The events of late years clearly show that the great question of the day will be, whether the truth of the Bible shall be upheld by our country; or in other words-shall England be Protestant ?
In 1844 the Dissenters' Chapels Bill was passed, a Bill which altered a law praised by Lord Chancellor Lyndhurst, as wise and just, in order to give Socinian congregations possession of endowments and chapels that had been left by pious Presbyterians for the purposes of Christian worship.
In 1845 was passed the Maynooth Endowment Act-an Act perVol. IX.-July, 1847.
New Series, No. 19.