Obrázky na stránke
PDF
ePub
[ocr errors]

right of displaying the motives of our conduct with candour and with truth.

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

Christ, without believing in his doctrines ? surely the one is incompatible with the other.

It will be seen that I have touched but slightly upon the evidence, tending to establish the truths of Catholicity. I have only done so incidentally; merely taking advantage of the opportunities afforded for that purpose, in the arguments I have undertaken to advance against some of the doctrines of Protestantism. The controverted points, however, enumerated in the parliamentary oaths, naturally gave a greater scope to that portion of the subject. In undertaking the defence of Catholicity, the difficulty must always be, rather to avoid a redundancy of evidence, than to produce strong and convincing testimony of its truth. The descent, the parentage, and the birth of our religion ; her infancy, her youth, and her age; her troubles and her misfortunes; her success and her triumphs: every period of her history, and every event of her lengthened existence : every prophecy of ancient days, and

every revelation which accompanied her announcement to the world: the wickedness of a few, and the eminent sanctity of numbers of her pastors: the zeal of her friends, and the malignity of her enemies: the perfidiousness and apostacy of some of her most distinguished champions; the open revolt of thousands of her own rebellious children : the learning and the piety of her faithful followers; the countless multitudes whom she has ever embraced within her fold : all, in their various and respective ways, proclaim the power and the truth of Catholicity, as well as the fostering care of a superintend

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

Much more might have been offered in exculpaion ; more reasons adduced, and more objections refuted : but it is not the intention of the writer to enter into a long and elaborate discussion, (that has been often done by abler hands than his ;) it is only hoped that sufficient has been brought forward to stimulate inquiry upon a most important, but most perverted or neglected question; to remove some, at least, of the causes which keep alive a spirit of hostility towards us; to do justice to our motives, and to promote unity, peace, and harmony among Christians. Let us indulge the hope, that the night is past, and that the day is at hand; and that the darkness of prejudice may at length be dispelled by the force of the light of truth.

Catholics are often accused of seeking the redress of their grievances with intemperance; but let Protestants fancy themselves in the same circum

ing Providence, that cherishes and marks her as his own. It cannot, therefore, be for want of materials that I have confined myself within such narrow limits, in treating of the Roman Catholic Religion ; but, because it was not necessary for my purpose to say more.

If there should be any inconsistency in arguing at one time, upon the ostensible articles of the Church of England, and at another time as if she had no articles at all; the inconsistency must rest with the Church that places herself in such a predicament, and thereby affords only another proof of her insufficiency.

[ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

stances in which they have placed us, and if they are not indignant at their wrongs, their sensibilities are little to be envied. Is it imagined that the length and ferocity of the persecution we have endured, have so daunted the spirit and lowered the pride of its devoted victims, that men of high rank and ancient name,- of honourable feeling and of untainted reputation,—that the descendants of many who have deserved well of their country, --that the lineal representatives of the barons of Runymede, will hang their heads and hide their faces, when a vial of slander and defamation is poured out upon them? Are we to afford credit to the imputation, by silence, or are we to confront our accusers, and repel the slander, to the shame of those who gave it birth? It is no satisfaction to hear that we are accused as a body, and not as individuals : since, as members of the same religion, we are all so linked together, by that unity of faith which is the very essence of Catholicity, that what is true of the body, is true also of the individual. No man can be a Catholic, who does not hold each doctrine of his Church whole and entire;--no man can be a Catholic, who rejects one single tenet which the Church has proposed to his belief, as a revelation from heaven. If he does so, he separates himself from the great community of Christians, and ceases to be a Catholic. What the Church teaches as an article of

faith, we must believe as such; if she holds a doctrine, we must hold that doctrine also, or we are not Catholics. It is therefore impossible to separate the community from the individual, or the individual from the community. The Church is not an immaterial being, nor a creature of the imagination, but an immense congregation of individual members, all holding one faith and one baptism; all united in one fold, under one shepherd. Neither the Pope, nor the college of Cardinals, nor the court of Rome, constitutes the Church, but that immense society of Christians, dispersed throughout the universe, yet bound together by a spiritual obedience to the same supreme but spiritual head of the Christian world. B) As Christians, the various sects by which we are surrounded and assailed, make no impression on us; but, as men, we are equally influenced by the freedom or despotism of civil governmentswe partake, in common with others, of the evils of unjust oppression, or of the benefits of wise and liberal legislation. I wish, therefore, to be understood to make a distinction between speaking politically, as the degraded member of a free state, with the remembrance of all our wrongs, and the miseries of

(B) It must always be remembered, that this spiritual head is much more restrained in the exercise of his spiritual sovereignty, than are the civil rulers of the freest states in the use of their temporal power.

[merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

Ireland present to my mind,-and speaking as a Christian, dispassionately discussing a mere point of religious controversy, without reference to its political consequences. In either case, I trust I have advanced nothing in a spirit unbecoming the subject, though I have said much which I am sorry to have been obliged to say. In justice, I might have said much more. I will take this opportunity of stating, that I am confident we are not actuated by any selfish or private views, in thus strenuously and warmly advocating our rights; but that we look mainly to the general peace and prosperity of the empire; which can never be true to herself, or great in the eyes of foreign states, till she cancels every trace of that barbarous code which has so long disgraced her statute book, and thereby drives that spirit of bigotry from the world, which has chosen England for her last and solitary haunt.

[ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]

REMARKS ON THE BISHOP OF PETER

BOROUGH'S LATE CHARGE. The charge of the Bishop of Peterborough, delivered in July of last year, and printed at the request of bis Clergy, having within these few days fallen under my observation, and conceiving it to be a document of importance at this juncture, I beg leave to offer the following observations upon it.

[ocr errors]
« PredošláPokračovať »