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THE PAST AND THE FUTURE PARLIAMENT.—THE QUEEN'S
SPEECH. THE Parliament now dissolved has witnessed some of the most important changes in the Government and policy of our country. The new Parliament may be instrumental in effecting still greater changes. May the overruling providence of God grant, in answer to the prayers of many of his faithful people, that we may be preserved as a Church and nation from the errors of Popery; and the punishments which are denounced upon those nations who make a league with that system of iniquity!
There is a very general opinion that things cannot stop where they are. We must become more or less Protestant: more or less Popish. Events are coming to a crisis. It would seem as if the time were hastening on in which all that is not of God shall be arrayed against all that is of God, and the various powers of darkness, error, and superstition come to a mighty and final conflict with the truth.
The light of prophecy, the voice of history and events passing around us, all witness against Popery. Yet with this same Popery many are seeking to ally us as a Church and nation. The more closely, promptly, and prayerfully the attention of Protestants is brought to bear upon this question, the better may it be for them and our cause.
In the Royal Speech, delivered on the prorogation of Parliament, prior to its dissolution, we have nothing bearing immediately on this question. The following was
HER MAJESTY'S SPEECH. My LORDS AND GENTLEMEN,
I have much satisfaction in being able to release you from the duties of a laborious and anxious session. I cannot take leave of you without expressing my grateful sense of the assiduity and zeal with which you have applied yourselves to the consideration of the public interests.
Our attention has been principally directed to the measures of immeVOL. IX.-August, 1847. R
New Series, No. 20.
diate relief, which a great and unprecedented calamity rendered necessary.
I have given my cheerful assent to those laws which, by allowing the free admission of grain, and by affording facilities for the use of sugar in breweries and distilleries, tend to increase the quantity of human food, and to promote commercial intercourse.
I rejoice to find that you have in no instance proposed new restrictions, or interfered with the liberty of foreign or internal trade, as a mode of relieving distress. I feel assured that such measures are generally ineffectual, and in some cases aggravate the evils, for the alleviation of which they are adopted.
I cordially approve of the acts of large and liberal bounty, by which you have assuaged the sufferings of my Irish subjects. I have also readily given my sanction to a law to make better provision for the permanent relief of the destitute in Ireland. I have likewise given my assent to various Bills calculated to promote the agriculture, and develope the industry of that portion of the United Kingdom. My attention shall be directed to such further measures as may be conducive to those salutary purposes.
My relations with foreign powers continue to inspire me with confidence in the maintenance of peace.
It has afforded me great satisfaction to find that the measures which, in concert with the King of the French, the Queen of Spain, and the Queen of Portugal, I have taken for the pacification of Portugal have been attended with success; and that the civil war which for many months had afflicted that country has at last been brought to a bloodless termination.
I indulge the hope that future differences between political parties in that country may be settled without an appeal to arms. Gentlemen Of The House of COMMONS,
I thank you for your willingness in granting me the necessary supplies ; they shall be applied with due care and economy to the public service, : I am happy to inform you that, notwithstanding the high price of food, the revenue has, up to the present time, been more productive than I had reason to anticipate. The increased use of articles of general consumption has chiefly contributed to this result. The revenue derived from sugar especially has been greatly augmented by the removal of the prohibitory duties on foreign sugar.
The various grants which you have made for education in the United Kingdom will, I trust, be conducive to the religious and moral improvement of my people. My LORDS AND Gentlemen,
I think proper to inform you that it is my intention inimediately to dissolve the present Parliament. 1 I rely with confidence on the loyalty to the Throne, and attachment to the free institutions of this country, which animate the great body of my people. I join with them in supplications to Almighty God that the dearth by which we have been afflicted, may, by the Divine blessing, be converted into cheapness and plenty.
be The Scing the Roman he minds nati
Most sincerely will all Her Majesty's loving subjects join in this prayer. The fearful scourge that has desolated Ireland and impoverished England, has been félt severely; and we would indulge the hope that a spirit of prayer and repentance has been the result in many a heart.
The stirring scenes around us—the way in which Protestants are evincing their fixed determination to oppose Popery, whilst they love the Roman Catholics, show how deeply the recent famine has impressed the minds of multitudes of the people with the conviction, not only that national punishments come not without a cause, but that Popery is one immediate cause of them. That Popery, with her unscriptural creed-her perfidious and persecuting principles-her idolatrous rites—and her murderous practices-her confessional at once the instigation of crime, and the asylum of the criminal-has engendered a state of society there, wherein God is dishonoured the finished work of the one Mediator despised—and man misled by those who should guide him to the way of peace.
Never may England persecute Roman Catholics ; never may she endow them. Never may she suffer Roman Catholics to persecute, as is too often the case, unprotected and conscientious Protestants.
But it behoves each one now to be careful, prayerful, vigilant, that the delusions of Popery may neither in politics deceive our statesmen, nor in theology mislead our divines.
Let it not be said, these are affairs which belong to others alone. They belong to us also. In a Christian community, no less than in civil societies, the whole often suffer for the fault of a part—and the people for the crimes or follies of their rulers.
As the passengers in a stately vessel may meet a watery grave, if the unskilful pilot steer upon the rock, so the errors of statesmen and theologians reach beyond those who invent and practise them. Hence the need for combined activity and prayerfulness, that, through the Divine interposition, all the crafts of Satan or man against the purity of our faith,—the independence of the empire,-and the peace of society,—may be utterly defeated; and the blessings which we have so long enjoyed may be continued and increased to us. In the elections now terminated, and those yet to take place, there is much, very much to encourage, as well as much also to dishearten. Protestant energy is being roused far beyond the expectation of many, but not yet adequate to the crisis.
When the County and Borough Elections have all terminated, We trust our friends will not think their work done. Far from it. Be it theirs to be in a state of better preparation for the next election ; to be fortified in the meantime to resist the rapid encroachments of Popery; to retrieve the past ; or defend the remaining vestiges of our Protestant Constitution.
MONTMORENCY.—A ROMAN CATHOLIC TALE.
(Continued from p. 213.)
" A few months,” resumed Clarice, " after the death of Mrs. Granville we met with Mr. Willoughby at Paris, who sent Frances a Bible; this I secretly obtained possession of, and read it with avidity. I did not peruse the book of Exodus without noticing that the law given from Mount Sinai was not the same as that which our Church teaches her children; the second commandment forbidding the bowing down to and worshipping of graven images being entirely omitted in the catechism from which I had been instructed, and the tenth as divided into two to make up the number. I vainly searched throughout the books both of the Old and New Testament for any account of purgatory, of masses, of prayers for the dead, of worship due to the Virgin, to saints, or to angels ; on the contrary, I found it recorded in the book of Revelations that when John fell down to worship before the angel he was not commended, but charged to do it not, to worship God. I could not reconcile this with the doctrines taught by our Church, neither could I find one word in Scripture about indulgences, works of supererogation, pilgrimages, relics, or holy water. No precepts could I find authorizing Christian men and women to withdraw from the world and seclude themselves in nunneries and monasteries; on the contrary, the Scriptures abounded with plain commands for practical active duties, their light was to shine before men, Christ prayed that his disciples might be kept from the evils of the world, not taken out of it. Clara, I read all this in the Bible. I read it eagerly then, but," Clarice sighed as she added, " I seldom read it now. I cannot obey its commands. I cannot leave all and follow Christ, the cross of persecution which I know would then await me is too heavy, it affrights me, I shrink from carrying it. I asked our village priest some weeks after I had read it, if I might not read the Bible ; he told me it was a book too deep for one of my tender age and feeble understanding, adding, be would rather see me occupied about the usual avocations of youth than prying into the sacred mysteries wisely reserved for those who were called to the holy priesthood.
“ I turned from him with an air of thoughtless gaiety, but said in my heart, You are wise, most reverend father, to conceal a book, the free circulation of which would weaken your hold over the consciences of your people; but his unwillingness to allow me to read it strengthened my belief in the truth of the sacred volume I had in my possession. Clara, do you ask me why, believing all this, I still continued, and still continue, to dissemble ? Alas! I have already told you it was not without some pain I resolved to conceal my sentiments, to quench the light I had received in darkness. I saw much beauty, much grandeur in the Bible, but, like the young man in the Gospel who went away from the Saviour: sorrowful when required to part with his earthly all, so I determined not yet to come out and touch not the unclean thing, not yet to wound a mother's heart, and bear the finger of scorn which those near and dear might then point at me. You weep, dear Clara, what have I said to pain you ?”
Clara indeed was weeping bitterly, for conscience which had long slumbered was now aroused, her past convictions, her past experience rushed on her mind. Had she not also shrunk from the cross, shrunk from faithfully confessing Christ before men, and was she not thus ungratefully requiting the kind Providence that had once sent her his Word, and even when she had weakly resigned it, bad placed it a second time within her reach ? All this rushed on her mind, producing feelings of self-reproach and gratitude somewhat similar, though doubtless far'weaker, than those experienced by Peter, when he met the mild eye of his injured Master, whose look of love struck conviction to his soul, so that the denier of his Lord went out and wept bitterly. Clara, however, struggled to regain composure, and after a little further conversation the cousins separated, and spent the next hour in solitude in their own apartments. Very different were their feelings at the expiration of that hour. Clarice, on reaching her room, unlocked the drawer in which she had deposited the Bible her sister thought had long since been returned to him from whom she had received it; a tear fell from her eye as she saw the name of Ernest Willoughby written in the title page. She hastily closed the sacred volume as though she feared its piercing words. One text sounded in her ears and caused a momentary thrill to pass through her frame, “ Whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven."
I must yet, thought she, as the time may come when I shall see more clearly, act more decidedly; as yet I am young, a life of pleasure is before me, a more convenient season will arrive. Again conscience spoke. Clarice had read the Bible ; her memory, naturally retentive, recalled two of its sacred warnings. “ Now is the accepted time, now is the day of salvation," and again, “ To-day, if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts." Clarice sighed, yes, and again she trembled, but she breathed no prayer to the God of grace, for the enemy of her soul 'presented to her mind the consequences of following Christ. Not merely must she renounce the pleasures of the world, but, in addition, she must encounter the anger and persecution of her friends, perhaps even death itself, should she boldly avow her principles, and refuse to submit to the authority of the Church; so she paused but for a moment ere her resolution was taken, and conscience quieted with that soul-deadening reply, “ Go thy way for this time, when I have a convenient season I will send for thee,” she took the Bible in her hand and hastened with it to her cousin's room. “ Here, dear Clara, I bring you this forbidden book, conceal it carefully, as I have done, and conceal still more carefully any heretical sentiments it may produce in your mind. Farewell, but do not ponder over it so long as to forget our engagement for the evening.”:, 1 niin?
Clara replied not, as she took the book, and carefully locking the door, fell on her knees and shed tears of mingled joy and sorrow, as she earnestly imploredi pardon for the past, and strength for the future, She could not avoid reproaching herself for having formerly parted with her Testament, nor could she refrain from thanking her heavenly Father