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ence necessarily attached to them, together with the Universities, and her paramount political privileges, that she can ever fall from that immense ascendancy which she now enjoys over every other religion in the state. The only ascendancy she would lose, is a hateful lording it over all who presume to differ from her-an ascendancy which teaches her to insult and oppress those whom, in her fears, she fancies to be her enemies, -an ascendancy that marks her for the scorn and pity of her victims. I am sure that every true friend of the establishment will acknowledge, that the sooner she falls from such an ascendancy as this, the better. But what object can Catholics have in uniting with the dissenters to despoil the establishment? We most cordially unite with them in our common endeavours to obtain the most perfect religious freedom; and we rely upon those common endeavours for success. The Church of England, “if more numerous than any single sect, is less so than the others united :"(d) and does she expect still successfully to oppose the energies of such antagonists, bound together by a similarity of grievances, with justice to embolden them in their career, and with so noble and glorious an object in view? The thing is impossible. “ The removal of civil disabilities can alone remove all cause of
(d) Vide Charye.
contention-can alone restore harmony between the Church of England and other religious parties.” And all cause of contention being removed, the union which was cemented by their common grievances, is at once dissolved. When the passions are calmed, and the interests of every class are amalgamated by equal laws and equal rights, the present lamentable discord will cease, religious harmony will be restored throughout the land, and Christians of every denomination will be linked together by the bonds of charity and good will alone. In every country in Europe, in which Catholics and Protestants have been confounded in a community of interests by an equality of rights, such has been the happy result. The Church of England might then enjoy her revenues and her privileges in peace and comfort, without the hatred or envy of her neighbours; exchanging the fierceness of the vulture for the meekness of the dove; being no longer a domineering mistress, nor an insulting tyrant.— The only point of union between Catholics and dissenters, is the great cause of religious liberty. That being accomplished, no further alliance can either be required or expected. The dissenters have invariably departed infinitely further from the parent Church, than the members of the Establishment. What, therefore, should we gain by uniting with them to despoil that Establishment ? They, united, being infinitely the stronger party,
would, in case of success, take every thing for themselves. I speak not of Ireland : any spoliation of the Established Church there, must proceed either from a convulsion in the country, or from the power of the Protestant landholders. There are no sectaries of sufficient force and numbers in that portion of the empire; and, as I said before, ten Catholic representatives must be more than destroying angels, to accomplish such a work. The redress of the most grievous clerical exactions, and a moderate competency from the Government to the Catholic clergy, operating with the late amendments in the tithing system, and equal laws, and equal rights, would so far satisfy the people, as to remove every idea from their minds of despoiling the establishment. To shew the probable inexpediency of Catholics repossessing themselves of the Church property, even if they had the power to do so, we have only to look to the history of Europe to satisfy ourselves that every church which has yet fallen, has fallen under the weight of its own riches. Those riches first produced a laxity of morals among the clergy, before they became the envy, or excited the cupidity, of the laity. Suffice it to say, that they effected the downfall of the church which possessed them. As zealous members of our religion, we ought not, therefore, to desire to see her again exposed to similar hazards and temptations; and I am sure
there is not a Catholic in the country who would not infinitely sooner see his religion with a decent competency, (such as we could give her ourselves, if the laws permitted it,) but free and independent, than again breathing the air of courts and palaces, and luxuriating in all her former riches. The Catholic Church of Ireland, with all her poverty, is probably a purer and a better Church (I mean as to morals and sanctity, for her faith has been always the same,) than she ever was in the days of her prosperity. For herself she desires nothing more than she enjoys at present, save the cessation of calumny and persecution against her children: she has all the authority she could desire over her people, because she rules them with a paternal solicitude, and receives their affectionate attachment in return: she sees and knows that riches are not requisite for the establishment of the kingdom of Godthat rather covetousness is the root of all evils,-and seeing this, she cherishes her poverty as her best and surest support.
But the great security of the protestant establishment would consist in the alliance which it should be her inclination to form with her Catholic brethren. Though we differ from her on points of faith ; those points are not many, and have, all of them, at one time or other, been warmly defended by some of her ablest Divines. Her ministers have frequently acknowledged that
the Catholic religion contains nothing contrary to salvation-nothing that should prevent her from being considered as a true Christian Church; and such has been more solemnly and frequently avowed by Protestant Divines upon the continent. Her discipline is nearly, her constitution is precisely, the same as ours. In our Liturgies, in the administration of the sacraments, we approximate. But the great uniting link between us, is her code of morality. The insufficiency of man; the atonement for sin; the divinity of Christ; the necessity of good works for our acceptance before God, and of repentance to obtain forgiveness of our sins; the application of the merits of Christ for our sanctification by means of the sacraments; the Decalogue of the old law, and the moral precepts of the new, are all points in which Catholics and Protestants are thoroughly united.
Is it not, therefore, natural, that we should support the establishment, should we see it invaded by Calvinists and Levellers. Catholics, most assuredly, have nothing to anticipate from the downfall of the Church. As long, however, as she is unjust and intolerant, we shall oppose her; but the moment that the support of her cause becomes sanctified by moderation and justice, she may rest assured of our assistance.(m) An Established
(n) “ At the same time, sir, I must protest against it's