Page images
PDF
EPUB

It is my decided opinion that Government should not overlook monastic establishments, but watch over them with vigilant care. It is a melancholy fact to know that several individuals are confined in these asylums.by compulsion. Yet they dare not complain, for this would be but to enhance their misery, by causing a stricter guard to be placed upon their actions. Such a course of procedure would subject the offenders to increased mortifications, severer penances, and render their existence, already melancholy enough, one continued scene of uninterrupted gloom!

Oh! where is the parent that would immure his child in monastic solitude, had he but a faint idea of its misery? Did he but know that the very system to which he consecrates for ever all he holds most dear on earth, teaches that child to banish filial affection from her bosom! and causes her to hate what God commands her to love! Did he but know that the cloistered cell is a living tomb, and that within its cerements the heart becomes subjected to a decay similar to that which the body undergoes in the sepulchre ! Better far that the father had found his daughter's spirit flown to its Maker, and poured the dew of affection upon her ice-cold cheeks, than to burn with the thought that her mind and body, by a lingering process, should be mouldering within the convent walls !

“ Oh ! 'tis a deeply fearful thing

To watch the young heart withering ;
To see the eye that once was bright,
Close 'mid the shades of sorrow's night;
To see the form in beauty's bloom,
Sink to its cold, but living tomb ;
A life of death, in which is felt
The darkness which no sun may melt.”

DIVIDED ALLEGIANCE.-ARE ROMANISTS OUR FELLOW

SUBJECTS ?

To the Editor of the Protestant Magazine. SIR,_In the letters which you did me the favour to insert in the last number of the Protestant Magazine, I endeavoured to point out the fallacy and inconsistency of designating Roman Catholics by the title of fellow-subjects: I also endeavoured to show that any claim set up on this plea, to an equal participation in all the privileges of the British Constitution, was entirely groundless, on account of the allegiance which Romanists owe, and the relation in which they stand, to a foreign despot, who, as pretended Vicar of Christ, and universal bishop, aims at universal dominion throughout Christendom,

I have since met with the opinion of Bishop Davenant on this subject, which is so much to the purpose, that I venture to solicit a place for it in the next number of the Magazine.

If due attention were paid to the sound reasoning of such learned divines as Bishop Davenant and Bishop Burgess on this point, we should hear no more from statesmen and others of that solecism in language,—“Our Roman Catholic fellow-subjects.* I am, Sir, your obedient, faithful Servant,

Amscus PROTESTANS.

TRANSLATION OF QUÆST. XVII. OF THE DETERMINATIONS OF

BISHOP DAVENANT. The parties spoken of are not [good subjects] is indubitable ; their yillanous practices against kings tell it out clearly. The question is, whether they can be good subjects. The doctrines promulgated by Jesuits, and received by all their followers, do not allow it ; for whoever approves of Jesuitical doctrine, and carries it into practice, whether he be a clerk, or a layman, cannot, on any ground, maintain the title of a good subject. Let us consider, first, the case of the clergy.

* When our leading statesmen touch upon the subject of religion, they are apt to venture out of their depth and betray their ignorance. Lord Melbourne did this, when in the House of Lords he asserted that the doctrines of the Roman Catholic Church were fundamentally the same with those of the Church of England.” This called forth a just rebuke from Bishop Burgess, who, in his letter to Lord Melbourne on the idolatry and apostasy of the Church of Rome, shows that the two Churches are diametrically opposed to each other on the fundamental doctrines of the Christian religion.

The late Earl Grey committed a similar mistake when he stated in the House of Lords,—“If it be necessary to exclude Roman Catholics from office and power, is it likewise necessary to denounce their belief and revile their worship ? "Must it not be galling to that body, not only to be denied the privileges to which their fellow-subjects are admitted, but to hear themselves branded as the votaries of a blind superstition, and the partisans of an idolatrous worship ? ” Dr. Phillpotts, (now Bishop of Exeter,) in animadverting on this speech, observes,—“ Pardon me, my Lord, when I say, that your Lordship’s late speech abounds with positions wholly untenable, and with facts greatly misapprehended, that, in short, it affords a striking illustration of the danger, from which no strength of talents or splendour of eloquence can exempt their possessor, when he ventures on a field of argument which is foreign to his ordinary pursuits."

Dr. Phillpotts adds,—“One of the most striking characteristics of your speech is, a readiness to inculcate the notion, that there is, in reality, very little difference of doctrine between the Churches of England and Rome. The attempt is not a new one.”

Our leading statesmen do not appear to be at all aware that the whole fabric of Popery is constructed upon a denial of Christ, as the only mediator between God and man. They need reminding that Christ will be our only mediator, or he will be no mediator at all, for he will not share the honours of his mediatorial throne with any created being.

Mere politicians, who have no higher standard to regulate their conduct by than expediency, and who are so little acquainted with the rudiments of Christianity that they cannot discern the difference between a religion that is true, and one that is false and counterfeit, are very unfit to govern a Christian country. When such men talk of endowing an idolatrous and Antichristian priesthood, like that of Rome, and call Romanists fellow-subjects, it is time to remind them of their ignorance and incompetency on a question of such vital importance as the admission of idolaters, and the subjects of a foreign potentate, to a full participation in all the privileges of the British Constitution.

Taking the Bible as our standard, it is very questionable whether it is right in Christian rulers even to tolerate idolatry: there can be no doubt that it is a sin of the deepest die, and of the most heinous character to endow it. Nothing but the grossest and most disgraceful ignorance on the part of our leading statesmen could lead them to entertain the thought of doing this for a moment, for wbat is the grand object of revealed religion but to deliver the world from idolatry ?

And here I assume it as sufficiently manifest, that they are not to be reckoned for good subjects, nay, are not even to be ranked as subjects, who insist that they are free from the yoke of the secular power, that the laws of princes maintain not their constraining force over them; and what is more, if it happen that they offend against the civil laws, assert that they cannot be punished by the civil magistrate, nay, cannot be even brought before his tribunal. Can such, I ask, be accounted subjects, who profess that they are neither bound by the laws of their own princes, nor, if they violate them, are obnoxious to the adjudication of penalty ? The opinion of the apostle concerning a good subject, in Rom. xiii. 1, is different, where he commands every soul to be subject to the higher powers, and likewise, judges it to pertain to this subjection, that you acknowledge yourself amenable to the sword of the magistrate, if you have been guilty of any crime. On the contrary, that saying of Bellarmine (De Cler., lib. 1) obtains with the followers of the Jesuits, " The clergy are not bound to civil laws, as those of princes, for instance, by any coercive obligation, but only by a directive one. But what if they are unwilling to be directed ? What, if they frowardly trample these laws under their feet? · Yet they cannot,' says the same Bellarmine, (ibid., cap. 28,) be punished by the political magistrate, or in any way be brought to the tribunal of the secular magistrate.' And what if they should commit the very heinous crime of treason ? Here the Jesuit Eudæmon meets us very opportunely, and suggests, that the crime of treason cannot, indeed, be properly committed by the clergy, who are exempt from the law of subjection, which Zimancha expressly teaches, that is to say, that the rebellion of a clerk is not a crime of high treason, because he is not a subject of the king. Let those boast no more of being good subjects, who do not even acknowledge that they are under the obligation of being subjects. So far concerning the doctrine of exemption, which militates against the very ground of civil subjection.

“ To this we may add that Jesuitic dogma of the seal of confession, which compels the Popish priests, infected with that poisonous notion, oftentimes to neglect the duty of a good and faithful subject. For suppose bloody traitors to have conspired against the life of the king, and against the whole state, and to have revealed it by confession to a pontifical priest, yet if he be imbued with the Jesuitical doctrine, he will say with Eudæmon, (Apolog. p. 355,) .It is not for me to reveal those things which are told in confession, either to preserve the life of the king, or the safety of the whole state;' or, with Gregory de Valentia, (tom. iv, de Sigil. Confess.) “What any one has come to the knowledge of only at the confessional, he may in no way reveal for any end whatever, although it may seem to relate to the public good.' Garnet, imbued with this Jesuitical theorem, set up as his defence (but falsely) for not having made known that mad crime of blowing up the whole kingdom, that forsooth it came to his knowledge only through the confessional. Now it remains with you to judge what sort of subjects they are, who had rather for their country and their prince to perish, than infringe that fictitious seal. Assuredly, the safety of the state is a supreme law to good subjects, and not to be superseded by that Jesuitical dream. .... But I fear, in a question about good subjects, it may seem a very absurd thing to speak at all of the Popish priests, who are neither wont to be good, nor wish to be subjects. Therefore let us dismiss them, and come to the laity, whom we assert cannot be good subjects, if they desire to believe and obey the subtle Jesuits.

“ There are two doctrines of the Jesuits (to say nothing of the rest) which completely root up the foundations of the allegiance of the laity.

“One is, that an oath of fidelity given to his own prince, may, by the authority of a foreign prince or potentate, that is, the Roman Pontiff, be dissolved. For what will bind hiin in the duty of a good subject, who pays no regard to the obligation of a solemn oath ? Now this the Jesuits instil into all the laity. That they owe a slight allegiance towards their prince, and that it has no weight unless it be derived from the will of the Pope; so that if the Pope should order them to renounce their allegiance, and to rush against their own sovereign, piety itself would forth with constrain them to be impious. Bellarmine has devoted an entire tract to prove that an oath of fidelity cannot indeed be taken by our Papists, without a renunciation of the Catholic faith. It is even a common opinion of all Jesuits, that every oath of fidelity whatsoever, and by whatever solemnity procured or taken, may be abrogated by Papal authority. To add no more, who shall say that he is a faithful subject towards his prince, who will, no longer than it appears good to him, either continue faithful or subject, to whom kings, the better and the more holy they are, upon that very account are the more odious to them?

“ Another doctrine, which cuts the very sinews of allegiance in the Popish laity, is that which the Jesuits force upon their disciples, viz., that it is not lawful for Christians to tolerate an heretical king, if he attempt to draw his subjects into his heresy; as Bellarmine decides (De Rom. Pont. 5, 7). And lest the minds of novices should waver in a matter of so much moment, Parsons confidently affirms:- As to allegiance, it is clear that every Christian prince, if he manifestly turns aside from the Catholic religion, and shall wish to draw away others, cuts himself off immediately from all power and dignity, and that before the sentence of the Pope is issued; and that his subjects may and ought, if they have the means, to depose him, as a heretic, from the government of Christian men.' Suarez has the like in his book, De Censuris, disp. xv., sect. 6, p. 262. It is not necessary further to stir this sink ; consider well this one thing (of which you are all well aware) that our religion is that which the Jesuits call heresy; that our Protestant sovereigns are those who, according to their opinion, endeavour to withdraw their subjects from the Catholic religion. This, then, is the tendency of the above dogma, viz., to persuade Papists that they are bound, as soon as they shall have the means, to attack, and hurl from the throne their Protestant monarchs, under whose governments they live. If they have not yet attempted this, Bellarmine (De Rom. Pont. 5, 7) incautiously enough has blabbed the true reason : « Not that they want the will, but that they have not yet sufficient temporal power.' .." It would not be beside the matter to treat, in this place, of blind obedience and Jesuitical equivocation, which two heads of Jesuitic doctrine whoever learns, he of necessity unlearns, by the same means,

the duty of a good subject; for blind obedience prepares the Popish Jesuits for all the commands, however impious, required by their spiritual superiors. And would to God that the things which those superiors often enjoin to superstitious men, bringing mischief upon sovereigns, and that under the notion of some extraordinary merit, needed proof! And as to what relates to equivocation, or the mental reservation of the Jesuits, if it be impiety in a good subject to deceive the lawful magistrate by lies and perjuries, they who do this under a change of name alone, and confidently maintain that they may do it, cannot claim to themselves either the title of good subjects or good men."-Allport's Translation of Bishop Davenant on Justification, vol. ii., pp. 307-310.

(To be continued.)

MONTMORENCY.—A ROMAN CATHOLIC TALE.

( Continued from p. 241.)

Clara had scarcely recovered from the agitation occasioned by her interview with Father Adrian, when a gentle tap was heard at the door of her chamber, and, reluctantly opening it, she saw Clarice, who entering the room, thus addressed her :

“I will not apologize for intruding on your solitude, since what I have to relate so nearly concerns yourself that it shall be my best excuse, but I must own I am in doubt whether to laugh or weepwhether to be serious or treat the whole as unworthy of anything but ridicule, for what I have to relate is such a strange composition of absurdities, that had I not heard with my ears and seen with my eyes, I could not believe it possible that a rational being, with a strong mind, such as Frances possesses, could have given credit to visions so extravagant and mysterious.

“ You must know, Clara, rather more than an hour since, Frances requested to see me alone, and in a manner more affectionate than usual placed in my hand a letter written by the abbess of a nunnery in Sa neighbouring town, which letter states the following undoubted facts:

A few nights since as the abbess lay on her bed, just after nocturns, a mysterious light shơne round the room, and a vision appeared in the form of a female. The abbess of course trembled from head to foot, till the visitor, who was no other than Saint Francis, spoke, and in a voice of celestial sweetness, calmed her fears; the saint then informed her there was a great work to be done, and done quickly; she must write at once to one of whom she had never heard, but whom she should one day embrace as a daughter beloved, and honoured as an instrument of singular benefit to the Catholic faith ; this favoured being was Frances, heiress of Cleves, who was destined by heaven to a noble calling and high privileges ; she must exhort her at once to break the earthly fetters with which ambitious and worldly relatives would chain her soul to the dust, She must even break through every soft and tender feeling of nature, should they stand in the way of duty, and be ready to obey, be the orders

« PreviousContinue »