Page images
PDF
EPUB

ceremonies, you are to observe, and to observe often, which you commence at this early age, and which you are to observe otten, nor are you allowed ever to discontinue it; and what is the penalty if you omit any of these duties, as they are here laid down and enjoined ? Eternal damnation! You are therefore bound under this dreadful denunciation to begin consessing at the early age of seven years : you are to continue to confess, and you are to confess often. The priest hears the confession---What is the result of this early, this continual, and this repeated confession ? Why, that the priest knows what sins you have ever committed, and what you intend to commit, for confession is not confined to acts which have been committed, but such as you intend to commit, for you are to confess all your sins, which consist as much in intention as in acts; and under this sanction you are not only bound to make confession under the dreadful anathema of eternal perdition, but you are also invited to make it under the hope of absolution ; thus it is, that Roman Catholic priests become acquainted with all the deeds of those who believe in the purity of that faith, and of all their intentions, of every thing by which their minds are occupied. What then? Why then arises a dreadful rebellion in Ireland, on the sudden, as it appeared to us, but on the sudden it could not be, for was the result of long preparation. I do not mean to say that the late rebellion in Ireland was purely and solely the work of Roman Catholics, there were many among the rebels who were not Catholics; but no one will accuse me with harshness, or want of charity, when I say there certainly, were a vast number of Catholics concerned in that rebellion, that is a proposition which the noble Earl himself will admit; neither will it be said that no priest of the Roman Catholic Church was found in arms in that rebellion, I believe, after having exhorted his flock, in public, to obedience to the law, saying that all power is of God; and that those who resist the power, resist the will of God: those who doubt this, if any such there be, may be converted, upon perusing some accounts of trials upon courts-martial.”

This subject is thus farther considered and forcibly applied to the question at issue.

“What says the author of this pamphlet ? ---This---As the Roman Catholic religion enjoins confession of men, women,

and children, from the age of seven years and upwards; an insurrection threatens the city of Dublin with immediate destruction, by seizing and destroying his Majesty's Government, root and branch ;---as this had been gathering for a considerable time before ;---as you Roman Catholics have been in the constant uni. form practice of confessing all your sins ?---What then?---Why the author of this pamphlet does not say to the priests---You did know that all this was intended to have been done: for that would

be

be taking upon him to aver a fact beyond his power to prove: but he states that which appears to him to be a reasonable deduction ; he says, you must have known it. He, therefore, does not say Dr. Troy had knowlege of all these matters before they happened, by knowing the intention of the parties engaged to commit them, and who afterwards did commit them; but he says, that from all these circumstances, Doctor Troy must have knowlege of these things. I. may, perhaps, be told, that whatever Dr. 'Troy knew upon this subject, yet he he could not communicate any part of that knowledge to government, for that the same doctrine which enjoins the sinner to confess his sins, enjoins also, that the priest to whom the confession is made, should keep the confession a profound secret, and that, therefore, the Doctor did all he could do, when he poured forth among his flock, an exhortation to their repentance. Gentlemen, I have heard this doctrine now and then statéd, but if it be a principle of action with the Roman Catholic priests, it is most alarming, because it comes to this, that an immense number of his Majesty's subjects are put into a situation in which their intentions, however mischievous, however subversive of the state, can never be made known until the mischief be completed. The Roc man Catholics are told it is their duty to confess, and they do confess, not only that they have committed some atrocious acts, but that they are going to commit others still more atrocious; to commit murder, to massacre whole multitudes in cold blood; to lay waste their country by fire and sword; to invite a foreign foe into, and then surrender their country tv a foreign yoke; and all this must remain an impenetrable secret to the government • who may have power to prevent it, if a lively disclosure takes place, because the Catholic faith enjoins, that the priest, who has the means of disclosure, is bound to preserve the secret inviolate. Am I to be told, that insurrections and rebellions are to be submitted to, because the priests are bound by the rules of their faith, not to disclose what comes to their knowledge by confession? I hope not. I know this, that the Roman Catholics, in some of their doctrines, believe in the infallibility of councils in matters of faith, and in matters of morality; that to omit to confess, is a mortal sin, and punished by eternal damnation! that to refuse or omit to make disclosure at confession, of any one thing, is subject to the like penalty; and, I understand, it is the doctrine of the Roman Catholic church, that if any intention of rebellion be disclosed, to dethrone a Roman Catholic Prince, the priests are at liberty, by the tenets of their religion, to disclose such intention; but, if intended to dethrone King George THE THIRD, it is not the understood duty of the Roman Catholic priest to make any such disclosure, which appears by some of the writings of their priests so late as the year 1802: they say they are not bound by their oaths in that

respect,

respect, while he is, what thank God he is, a Protestant, and what they call an heretic.' But I say, it is the duty of all persons, whether Catholics or Protestants, to disclose and make known every thing that has for its object, the overthrow of the government under which we live; otherwise any plan might be concerted, and carried into execution, for overturning the government of this country, and establishing instead of it the empire of France; nothing is wanting, but that the plot should be confined to Roman Catholics, and they may, to any number, bę engaged in it; so do we see that Catholics can always readily join in rebellion againt a Protestant prince, or, to overturn a Prutestant government.

We were somewhat surprised to find the learned advocates, and the learned judge himself, designating the plaintiff as titulary archbishop of Dublin. In the name of common sense, what does this title mean? Are there two archbishops of Dublin? The law acknowleges only one; and, therefore, the other litle is an impudent usurpation, which ought to have been scouted and treated with contempt in a court of justice.

1

The Duty of Stedfastness in Church Communion : a Ser

mon, by EDWARD PEARSON, B. D. Rector of Rempstone, Nottinghamshire, 12mo. Pp. 40. UR readers are so well acquainted with the Christian

zeal, sound principles, and clear reasoning of this respectablé author, that there can be little occasion for us to be particular in our recommendation of this discourse. The reasons for its publication are thus given in the advertisement:

“ The following Sermon was written and preached with the view of guarding the more sober-minded and better disposed part of my parishioners' against the invitations to dissent, or tó a conduct nearly equivalent to dissent, with which they are perpetually assailed by the Baptists and Methodists, who abound in this neighbourhood; and it is now published in the hope that it may be of use in other places, which are in a similar situation. By a conduct nearly equivalent to dissent, I mean the practice, which, absurd and inconsistent as it is, seems to be gaining ground, of attending the service of the Church on one part of the day, and the service of the Meeting-house on the other." Vol. X. Churchm. Mag. for April 1806. Qq

Nir.

Mr. Pearson enforces the duty of stedfastness, and remonstrates with great strength of argument against the schismatical practice of occasionally attending conventicles from the appropriate words of Elijah to the idolaq trous Israelites, " How long halt ye between two opinions?"

The distinction between a conscientious dissent, and the too-common practice of attending both the Church and the Meeting-house is thus admirably laid down:..

It appears

rs that the case of those who attend both the Church and the Meeting House cannot be better, and may be worse, than the case of those who attend the Meeting House only. It is possible, that he who attends the Meeting Ilouse only, may do so on a principle of conscience, because he thinks that the worship which the Church prescribes is of a sinful nature, and unacceptable to 'God: whereas he, who attends the Church also, shews, by his doing so, that he has no such reason for his conduct, and that he disobeys the laws of the Church, of which he professes himself a member, either through a spirit of refractoriness, or on some other principle, which will not bear the test of examination, nor admit of defence. Some of the early dissenters from the Church of England said to her, and some of the modern Socinians or Unitarians may say, 'We are aware of the evils of Schism, and we wish to avoid the sin of it; but you call upon us to join in a worship, which we deem of a sinful nature, and unacceptable to God. However unwilling, thercfore, we may be to separaté ourselves from you, we are compelled: to do so, because we think it right to obey God rather than men.'-Though this allegation, as I conceive, is founded in a wrong judgment, it must be allowed, supposing it sincere, so be a good one in point of conscience; such an one, we may humbly presume, as will justify those who can make it in the sight of God. It is indeed the allegation which justified our separation from the Church of Rome. Nothing of this kind, however, can be alleged by you. You shew, by your 'attendance here, that you do not think the worship which the Church of England prescribes to be of a sinful nature, and unacceptable to God; otherwise, you ought not to attend here at all. When, therefore, you transgress the laws of the Chureh by joining in a mole of worship, or listening to a species of preaching, which the Church has prohibited, you have no reason to allege for it, of which your conscience can approve. On the contrary, every time you enter into a Meeting House for, this purpose, your conscience must reproach you, and inforın you that you are doing wrong. The Church, it is true, can inflict no punishment on those who disobey her laws; but they ought to consider that a time must come, when punishment for this

offence

[ocr errors]

offence may be inflicted on them, and that, even now, by standing in the way of their own spiritual improvement, and precluding themselves from various spiritual advantages, which inflict on themselves a punishment of the severest kind.”

All this, and much more, is well and forcibly argued ; yet in the true spirit of Christian meekness, against that baneful and latitudinarian practice, which is so much in vogue among us, and which is so greatly encouraged by those who call themselves evangelical ministers.

It is openly maintained by those persons, and by those who are in the habit of attending their ministry, that it is the duty of Christians, if the Gospel, according to their views of it, is not preached in their parish churches, to seek for it elsewhere. This opens a wide door to schisni, and to all manner of heresies, as was the unhappy case of this nation when the high Calvinistic and Puritanical principles gained an ascendancy in the reign of Charles the First.

When a congregation has lost a pastor of the evangelical cast, and he is succeeded by one of more sober principles, it is a common case for many to forsake the Church and join the Meeting-House : and in so doing, they are certain of being encouraged by those of the clergy who are of the Calvinistic persuasion. We could produce many instances of this; and we have it also in bur power to bring forward many facts to prove that the Evangelical Clergy not only shut their pulpits with extreme caution against all ministers who are not exactly of their opinions, but they might otherwise obtain, they moreover, hold out allurements to persons belonging to other parishes to attend their preaching, as being the only gospel doctrine. This same preference of preaching to the superior duties and ordinances of the Church, is the principal source of that deluge of schism which prevails; and which, by making divisions among ourselves,leads the people off in by multitudes to join the numerous sects that arise and flourish by our want of “ Stedfastness in Church Communion.”

We cannot conclude’ without observing, that the present discourse forms a valuable addition to Mr. Pearson's four Tracts already published, entituled, 1 Three plain Reasons against separating from the Established Church. -2 Three plain Reasons for the Practice of Infant Baptism.--3 An Admonition against Lay Preaching; and 4, An Exhortation to the Duty of Catechising.

« PreviousContinue »