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this country indeed, where it has no civil establishment, and where those who belong to its communion form a very small minority, it is mild, plausible, and insinuating; and would make us believe that there is no portion of professing Christians so abundantly and laboriously benevolent. And, accordingly, some of their most revolting habits and practises of penance, of superstitious ceremony, and of licentious indulgence, are never exhibited among us. Papists in the midst of such a Protestant population as that which surrounds them on this side of the Atlantic, cannot possibly carry into execution their system in all the ostentatious grossness, in all the unbridled profligacy under which it appears in countries where it holds an undisputed reign. It is here restrained, trammelled, and obliged by circumstances to be reserved and decent. The light which shines around its votaries is too bright for many of their worst works of darkness. But go to those countries in which it still reigns in all its gloomy despotism; where it wields the sword; and where the human mind is as much enslaved by it as ever. Go to Italy, and especially to Spain and Portugal, and contemplate Romanism as it appears there at this hour; and then ask, whether it has not, in substance, the same essential characteristics ;-the same corrupt and revolting aspect, which it manifested three hundred years ago ?
The fact is, as long as the Romish Church continues to maintain the infallibility of the Pope, and his right to pronounce, without appeal, even to the Scriptures, what is the will of Christ ;-as long as she maintains works of supererogation, and what is closely connected with them, the doctrine of merits and indulgences ;-as long as she represents heaven as a part of the domain of St. Peter, so to speak, to be parcelled out, and made over to men for money, just as the avarice or caprice of the sovereign Pontiff, and his em. issaries may dictate ;--as long as she maintains Transub. stantiation, that enormous outrage on every dictate of sense and reason, as well as of Scripture :-as long as she requires
her system of auricular confession, penance, the celibacy of the clergy, with all its appalling abuses, the worship of images, and prayers to the saints, and for the dead;-especially as long as she mutilates one of Christ's sacraments, and adds five more to the list which he never appointed ;-as long as she locks up the Scriptures from the common people, and exercises a spiritual tyranny over the consciences, as well as the lives and property of men—" binding heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and laying them on men's shoulders, while she herself will not touch those burdens with one of her fingers ;"-as long, in fine, as she professes in words to hold all the leading doctrines of the Gospel, but, at the same time, makes them all totally void by her traditions ;---as long as she continues to maintain and require these things ;-she may smile, and flatter, and disavow, and cajole, as she has always done ;-—but she cannot cease to be “ Antichrist,"'--" Babylon the great,"_"the mother of Harlots and abominations." The Church of Rome, in her innate essential character, is an intolerant persecuting Church. Her radical principles constrain her as far as possible, to prohibit the existence of any and every other Church. She may be rendered prudent by necessity, and even timid by danger ;but her nature must be entirely changed, before she can cease to deceive, cheat, oppress and destroy the children of men, under the pretext of making them happy here and hereafter.
It may be said, indeed, that those who are captivated by such a corrupt church, and consent to join it, cannot have any real religion; and that their becoming Papists, will not add to their danger, or make their situation, in any respect, worse than it is. This, however, is an entirely erroneous view of the subject. As long as a man entertains a tolerably correct theory on the subject of religion, and habitually comes within the reach of pure ministrations, there is surely more hope of him, than when he gives himself up to radical
error, and retreats out of the reach of all the ordinary means of light and warning. But, further, even supposing that graceless men, by becoming Papists, do not become in a worse situation with regard to their state towards God, or their prospects for eternity; may they not be made by the change, worse members of society; more unsound in all their practical principles, and more dangerous neighbours ?* Every addition that is made to the members of that corrupt
* We are far from alleging or thinking, that all Roman Catholics are less moral than the mass of their Protestant neighbours. We are aware that they furnish many examples of unexceptionable, and even ornamental deportment. But we cannot for a moment doubt that the natural tendency of the Popish doctrines of Absolution, Indulgences, &c., as we know they have been, and still are understood and acted upon, by millions of that denomination, is highly immoral. We should not expect to find any man who entered fully into the popular sense and use of those doctrines, worthy of confidence in any of the relations of life. Accordingly, the ingenious and learned M. Villers, author of an “Essay on the Influence of the Reformation by Luther," to which a prize was awarded by the National Institute of France, à few years ago, expresses himself thus_"It is a certain fact that more crimes are committed in Catholic than in Protestant countries. I might instance many facts which I have collected on this subject. I will be satisfied with foreign authoritics. Cit. Rebmann, President of the special tribunal of Mayence, in his Coup-d'æil sur l'elat des quatres departmens du Rhin, says that the number of malefactors in the Catholic and Protestant cantons, is in the proportion of four, if not six to one. At Augsburgh, the territory of which offers a mixture of the two religions, of nine hundred and forty-six malefactors, convicted in the course of ten years, there were only one hundred and eightyfour Protestants, that is to say, less than one in five. The celebrated philanthropist Howard, observed that the prisons of Italy were inces. santly crowded. At Venice, he had seen three or four hundred prisoners in the principal prison. At Naples nine hundred and eighty in the succursal prison alone, called vacaria ; while he affirms that the prisons of Berne are almost always empty; that in those of Lausanne he did not find any prisoner; and only three individuals in a state of arrest at Schaffhausen. (Iere are facts; I do not draw any conclusion.” Villers, 8vo. 213.
communion, is a real accession of strength to the enemies of the best interests of civil society. Besides, when those who have families, make a transfer of their ecclesiastical connexion from some Protestant denomination, to the Ro. man Catholic communion, they throw their children, and all committed to their authority, into a corrupt body, and into a system of radical error, for perhaps, many generations.
If, regardless of these dangers, those who ought to instruct and warn, will not perform their duty; if Protestant parents will send their children to Seminaries conducted by Romish ecclesiastics; if Protestant, and even professedly pious, females will consent to únite themselves in matrimonial bonds with Roman Catholics, with the hope of finding little or no evil on the score of religion, to result from the union; if those who profess to know and love the truth, will send their children, and other beloved relatives, to reside in families or neighbourhoods, where they will be exposed to much intercourse with proselyting and plausible Romanists; and, finally, if ministers of the Gospel, whose duty it is to "cry aloud, and not to spare, to lift up their voice as a trumpet,” to warn men of danger, and arm them against it,will not give themselves the trouble to gain information of the real character and designs of this insidious soe of God and man, and of the proper means of exposing his anti-christian claims, and refuting bis superstitious doctrines—we know of no remedy. The consequences must be deplorable; but the evil will be required at the hands of the indo. lent and unfaithful delinquents.
THE SACRED POETRY
OF THE EARLY CHRISTIANS.
Poetry and music are intimately related, and are both natural expressions of human thought and feeling. The first efforts of rude nations towards the creation of a literature are poetical in their character. The talk of the Indian orator only requires rhythmical measurement to transform it into poetry, occasionally rising into strains of genuine sublimity. No nation was ever found without its appropriate popular songs and music, rude or refined, according to the degree of intelligence and cultivation attained ; and perhaps a more powerful engine has never been employed to control the feelings and energies of a people. Hence the patriot and the demagogue have alike exhibited the attractions of their country or faction, in the stanzas of a popular song, and taught the people to sing it in the streets and by the fireside. The followers of the Lamb, and the advocates of error, have always been accustomed to condense the spirit of their sentiments into psalms and hymns, and enjoin upon their disciples to sing them unceasingly in the public convocation, and in the private hours of devotion. The strains of the poetry when invested with the colouring of genius, and the tones of the music when judiciously adapted, always touch a chord, which vibrates to the soul of sensibility. There is a fascination about a well performed piece of music, which even a barbarian will feel; and there are strains of Christian psalmody, which possess power to charm the cold ear of in