« PreviousContinue »
them.” Is there not then a cause? Are there not many causes why the hand of the Lord should be laid heavily upon our country? Is not our fostering and endowing Popery the first and chief of these? Warning after warning seems to have come in vain.
Unhappy Spain, quenched in blood, shed by the Inquisition, the light of the Reformation that once dawned upon her people, and seems doomed to the perpetual horrors and darkness and bloodshedding she has brought upon others, and is now inflicting on herself. And Ireland too, where the blood of multitudes, unatoned for, has been shed, not in battle, not by the sword of justice, but the hand of the murderer, exhibits a fearful instance of the continued judgments of God visiting that unhappy land, and about to visit our own, if we continue to endow and foster that abominable thing which he hates. Impressed with these feelings and sentiments, as we long have been, it was with much gratification we read the following speech of Mr. Plumptre in the House of Commons last Wednesday week :- .
6 Mr. PLUMPTRE thought the accounts which they read in the journals, and which they heard from private sources, of the condition of Ireland were really of such an awful and afflictive nature that he could fully sympathize with an Hon. Member who had stated that his feelings but ill harmonized with the joyful ringing of the bells yesterday on the occasion of opening the session. The affliction was indeed overwhelmingly oppressive, and was a dispensation of the most solemn, and startling, and humbling nature, as it affected them as Christians, and as men professing to be guided by the Word of God, in which he had revealed to them his will. He did not mean to enter at large into the question where the guilt, which had drawn upon them this tremendous dispensation, lay, whether that guilt lay with the people or with the rulers; but he could not help expressing what he considered to be a well-founded opinion, that the rulers of this country had deeply offended by some acts which they had recently placed on the statute book, and which, in his belief, were calculated to bring down the Divine displeasure on the land; but on this he would not enter. He would submit, however, with all sincerity to the Noble Lord at the head of Her Majesty's Government, the suggestion whether it might not be fitting that some more general humiliation before God than had been yet recommended should take place. He was aware that a day of humiliation had been appointed in the northern part of the island, and that a form of prayer, applicable to the present calamity, had been issued in this country, but he begged to offer the suggestion, whether a calamity, which was sweeping away thousands of their fellow-creatures from time into eternity, and which was so awfully painful and afflictive, did not offer a fit occasion for some further act of humiliation to implore from the Almighty the withdrawal of that great affliction from the land. (Hear.)"
MONTMORENCY.—A ROMAN CATHOLIC TALE.
(Continued from p. 16.) The second day after, this conversation was drawing to a close, when a messenger arrived, covered with dust and apparently much fatigued ; he inquired for Hubert, to whom he presented a note, his agitation on reading which was too great to be concealed. “I must leave you, my father, immediately ; my friend is dying ; where is my sister ?”
Clara was from home, and Hubert, leaving a farewell message, hastily departed, as the note informed him of the serious illness of Ernest Willoughby, of a contagious fever. This sad account revived the whole of Hubert's warm affection, and absorbed every other thought in one—will Ernest die a Protestant, an unbeliever, a heretic? The agitation of his mind during his journey was so great, that when arrived at the place where a few days since he had parted with his friend, he appeared so ill that the surgeon begged him not to expose himself to a fever the most virulent he had ever seen.
“ If my death be the result, I must see my friend,” replied he, with melancholy decision.
The surgeon ceased to remonstrate, and Hubert in a few minutes was gazing on his dying friend, who but a short week since had been strong in the possession of youth and strength. Ernest was in bed, supported by pillows, a bright flush was on his cheek which served but to raise the delusive hope, his eyes were closed as though in gentle slumber, a Bible was laying on the bed, it was opened at the fifth chapter of the Epistle to the Romans. He was not aware of the entrance of his friend, and repeated, in a voice hardly audible, “Heavenly Father, may he know the hope that cheers my dying hour, a hope of eternal life, freely purchased by my Saviour !" He then opened his eyes, which as yet had lost none of their accustomed brightness; a smile of pleasure beamed on his face as he extended his hand to Hubert, who, overpowered by his feelings, uttered not a word.
“Ah! why, dear friend, have you disobeyed my charge, and endangered your precious life by visiting me?”
Oh, Ernest, do you ask me why? I would risk my life, nay, I would gladly resign it, to be the means of convincing you of your error, to implore you, ere it be too late, to return to the bosom of our Holy Church ; and if I must lose my friend in time, spare me the insupportable misery of feeling we are parted for eternity! believe me, it is the truest love that compels me thus to entreat; your life is fast ebbing away ; refuse not then the rites of the Church : oh, exclude not yourself from the company of the blessed.”
“And can you, at this last hour, hope to shake my faith?” . “Alas, I know not what I hope, but I seem armed with the energy of despair to pluck you out of your fatal security, your dangerous rejection of the only way of salvation.”
“No, dearest Hubert; no, friend of my soul, object of my fondest prayers, I am not rejecting the only way of salvation ; "there is no other name under heaven given whereby man can be saved, but only the name of Jesus ;' to that name I cling, at that cross I shelter me, and I feel it is no vain delusion; yes, I feel the everlasting arms are under me and around me: oh, Hubert, I fear not death, for Jesus has destroyed it; I fear not to stand before a holy God, though I am a guilty sinner, for his precious word declares, He can be just and yet the justifier of them who believe in Jesus. No, Hubert, fear not for me, we shall not be parted for eternity. At this hour, I have a hope hitherto unfelt, that you shall be partaker of like precious faith ; and when you see the finished work of the spotless Son of God, those empty works of human merit will be cast to the moles and the bats,' while the seamless robe of a Saviour's righteousness will need nought to add to its perfection.”
Exhausted by the fervour with which he had spoken, he remained some time silent, occasionally fixing his eyes on Hubert with an expression of such deep affection that he could scarcely sustain the agonizing thought, that the friend so tenderly beloved was perishing in fatal delusion. True, had he wished to have idrawn the character of one who had reached his standard of moral perfection, he would have painted such an one as Ernest Willoughby; his death-bed, too, so peaceful, so triumphant, would it indeed be the prelude of an eternity of misery? was there not a ray of hope ? was there not a beam of consolation ? might not that Saviour on whom Ernest so fearlessly relied, be both able and willing to save him? A calmer influence was stealing over his soul, when a sterner voice dispelled it, and pointed to the “Keys of the Kingdom,” the will of the priest, as the grand procuring cause of salvation.
When Hubert awoke the next morning, the sun was brightly shining, and he felt amazed to think how he could have slept so long, surrounded by such painful associations, but exhausted nature had needed repose, and he felt refreshed and calmed by its soothing influence. His first thoughts turned to Ernest, who he learnt had passed a tranquil night, and was better than on the preceding evening. Three or four days passed without any material change; during this time, Hubert was constant in his attendance on his dying friend, and as constant in urging on him the claims of the only true Church.
“Hubert,” said Willoughby, in reply to his friend's entreaties, “ tell me, were you in my place, should you not fear? You do not answer my question. Far be it from me to boast, but I fear not to die, since · Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord.' Tell me, dear Hubert, could you thus welcome death and fear no evil ?”
“Many a pious Catholic might, if I could not."
“But why cannot you, dear Hubert ? May I not safely say, few so young have been so anxious to merit; heaven, to prepare for death? Tell me, therefore, why should you fear more than they ?”
“My conscience tells me that God is holy and I am a sinner: my Church also teaches, it is not well to be confident of safety ; but if we are safe, of how little consequence is it whether we feel ourselves so; but oh, Ernest, how awful is that security which the last Great Day alone can disturb !”
“ You think, then, mine is that false security ?”
“ Alas, I know not what to think. Beloved by my heart as its dearest friend, entwined round every heart-string, how bitter is the thought that you reject the truth! yet bitter as it is, I do avow, I have always avowed it, for even your Bible says, If he neglect to hear the Church, count him as a heathen man and a publican."
“Hubert,” said Ernest, rising from his pillow, and fixing his stedfast gaze on his friend, “hear me, not for the first but probably for the last time. The Bible alone is the word of God, perfect truth without any mixture of error; that Bible speaks of false teachers departing from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils, speaking lies in hypocrisy, forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats. Pure at first was the little Church of which the Saviour spoke, but Satan tarried not to sow the tares -will-worship, priestly authority, man's righteousness, other media-, tors. By degrees, these errors defiled the fountain and sullied the stream: Jesus, the Alpha and Omega, was by them dethroned: another Gospel was preached, the Word of God was taken from the people, and a famine caused of the bread of life. "Forbidding to marry and commanding to abstain from meats,' are remarkable characteristics of the apostate Church. Again, she is described as “ drunken with the blood of the saints, and the blood of the martyrs of Jesus ;' again, as
the woman clothed in purple and scarlet,' fit emblems of the pomp and pride of Rome; and the voice of God cries with a solemn warning,
Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her plagues.' Hubert, the Protestant Church obeyed that call, she came out and refused to worship the Beast; and the truth as it is in Jesus, the only hope that can smooth a dying pillow, is preached from her pulpits, that hope springs from the cross of Jesus, the full, the free atonement made by the Son of God. Tell me not your Church also holds these truths; she does not; she teaches that man's merits must be mixed with Christ's; else, why the ceaseless fasts and penances ? why the torturing flames of purgatory ? Pardon me, dearest Hubert, regard me not as a blasphemer, but hear from my dying lips the confession of my faith. Jesus has by one offering of himself perfected for ever them that are sanctified. Adam ruined us all by his fall, Christ has restored us all by his obedience; but you would fear to die, dear Hubert, because your Church teaches you good works have a saving efficacy. I know, oh, how well, the state of mind you are in; for long I toiled at a slavish obedience, long I kept a debtor and creditor account between God and my own soul ; but it would not do, it ruined, it condemned me. I threw it all away at last, and fled for refuge to the Son of God, and oh, I found that refuge, I found that peace which he alone could give, and now I love him, assured that he first loved me. Hubert, I am dying; a few short hours, and you will hear me no more. Nay, grieve not, dearest friend. No fires of purgatory await my departing spirit, but a Saviour's bosom, a father's arm, an inheritance undefiled. Yet why? Not that I am worthy; ah, no, from first to last a sinful creature. I die as I have ever lived, and Calvary's cross, Emmanuel's perfect sacrifice, procure me pardon now, peace, perfect peace, and glory, immortal glory, in the world to come.”
Exhausted by the fervour with which he had spoken, Ernest sunk on the pillow and closed his eyes. Hubert spoke not. It was evident death was not far distant, and he at whom the dart was levelled shrunk not affrighted from the conflict. On what had he built that thus, like a solid rock, remained unshaken? On Jesus, the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever. On him whose rod and staff comfort in the dark valley. Peace, heavenly peace, was shed on Ernest's soul, and this
peace shone on his dying features; and Hubert, in contemplating them, lost somewhat of that aching agony which had so long oppressed him. Yet, why he knew not, a sense of languor was creeping on him with overpowering influence; his hand was clasped in that of Ernest, whose head was reclining on his breast, and every breath grew feebler.
“Give me a cordial, Hubert, exhausted nature sinks, and I would fain say a few more words.”
He took the proffered cup, and felt revived, then laid his hand on his well-worn Bible.
“Long have I desired and feared to make this one request, and waited that my dying lips might plead with greater eloquence, read this sacred book, judge for yourself, praying God for the Spirits teaching, and you will not, cannot err, in what concerns your immortal safety. And now, my fond, my faithful friend, farewell: we part, but not, I trust, for ever; then shall you know if you follow on to know the Lord, to know him as the Lord your righteousness, but oh, beware, there is but one mediator between God and man. And now to that one mediator I commit you, to him who has loved me and washed me from my sins in his own blood, to him be glory now and ever.”
His voice grew fainter as he spoke these words, a slight shudder passed his frame, it was gone, and tranquil as a slumbering infant he closed his eyes. Once only he strove to speak. Hubert bent his ear and heard only the name of Jesus. Again that pulse beat slow and feeble. At last, the listening ear was bent in vain, for Ernest Willoughby had joined the glorious assembly of the Church above, and Hubert remained a sad and cheerless mourner.
(To be continued.)
THE MAYNOOTH COLLEGE BILL. The fourth list gives the names, We are indebted to a correspon- &c., of the ninety-three members dent for the following:
absent on both divisions. To the Editor of the Protestant Magazine,
And the last is a list of the majority
who voted for the third reading, Dear Sir,- Having noticed the tellers included. suggestions of “ An Old Protestant”.
For anything I know to the conin your Magazine for November,
ber; trary, the several lists will be found page 504, I beg to send you the
tolerably accurate, and as a refresher accompanying lists, which, together, of the memo
of the memories of all true Protestant include the names, &c., of every
electors, in the event of a general Member of the House of Commons,
election, they may not, I trust, be with the place represented, during the
without their use, if you should think time the Maynooth Bill was passing through that House in April and
proper to publish them in your Magazine.
I am, dear Sir, May, 1845,
Yours very faithfully, l'he first list contains the names,
November 28, 1846. &c., of all who voted against the third reading. The second list of seventeen who
May 19, 1845.-“ Order of the third
reading read; Motion made, and question voted against the second reading, but
proposed,—That the Bill be now read the absented themselves upon the third third time.' Amendment proposed,—to division.
leave out the word now,' and at the end The third is a list of thirty-nine
of the question to add the words 'upon members who voted in favour of the
this day six months.' Question put,
That the word 'now' stand part of the second reading, but abstained from
question. The House divided. -Ayes 317; · voting on the third division.