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selytes to Popery, and of persuading Protestants to desert the pure faith of Christ (for which martyrs bled and were burnt at the stake), and adopt the corrupt and idolatrous religion of Rome. From the progress which Popery is stated, in some foreign journals, to have made in England since the year 1829, its advocates, especially on the continent, are sanguine in their anticipations of its ultimate triumph: and they regard the alleged increase of Tractarians and Tractarianism as one of the most favourable signs of the times. We do not sympathize in their dreamy anticipations. To the increase (asserted increase, we mean) of Romish chapels, some of them erected with great architectural beauty, not to say splendour, we can oppose the actual increase of churches (with assiduous pastors, who devote themselves to the spiritual welfare of their flocks), in which divine worship is solemnized in beautiful simplicity, and with our truly scriptural liturgy, in a language understood by the worshippers: and in which “the pure word of God is preached," and not traditions of man's invention; "and the sacraments are duly ministered according to Christ's ordinance in all those things that of necessity are requisite to the same." (Art XIX.) We are not ignorant how adroitly the Romish Church adapts her seductions to the different temperaments of men. For the admirer of forms and of an imposing and splendid worship she has a gorgeous ritual and magnificent pageantry, which dazzle the eyes, while fragrant incense perfumes the air. The admirers of the fine arts are fascinated by the most exquisite productions of painting and of sculpture; while the lovers of music are ensnared by the performance of compositions, the most delightful as well as the most sublime, which can charm or gratify the ear. At the same time, for the ascetic, the mystical, and the enthusiast, she has her cloisters and all the forms of monastic life: while, for the devout and sentimental, prayers and meditations are provided, which are clothed in the most impassioned, not to say amatory language. To the restless pilgrim, whose piety needs a greater variety than the dull monotony of the cell, or the hermitage of the anchorite, or the death-like silence of the Trappist can afford, Rome presents shrines, relics, and reputed holy places, whither he may wander. “ To the generous and benevolent she offers some fraternity or sisterhood of charity. To him who is inclined to take heaven by violence, she gives as much penance as he can desire : and to the mass of men, who wish to reconcile both worlds, she exhibits a purgatory, so far softened down by the masses of the priest and the prayers of the faithful, that its fires can be anticipated without overwhelming dread.” We are prepared to expect that some weak and ignorant persons may be seduced, by the bewitching fascinations of Popery, to submit themselves to that spiritual bondage and despotism which enslaved the souls and bodies of our forefathers, while it drained our country of its wealth ;* and from which," through the tender mercies of our God,” they (and we) were delivered in the sixteenth century by the blessed martyrs and confessors for the Reformation; who," counting not their lives dear unto them," suffered even unto death for the pure doctrines and holy moral precepts of the Gospel. So long, however, as our bishops and clergy continue faithful to the vows of God which are severally upon them-viz., that they shall“ be ready, with all faithful diligence, to banish and drive away all erroneous and strange doctrine contrary to God's word;" and to “ teach the people committed to their charge nothing as required of necessity to eternal salvation through faith in Jesus Christ, but that which they shall be persuaded may be concluded and proved by the holy Scriptures :"t-so long as they thus fulfil their high and holy commission, we need not fear the ultimate triumph of Popery in the British dominions. “If we 'cry aloud, and spare not,' against giving countenance to the unscriptural errors of Popery, we do so because it is our DUTY; not with a view to excite animosities against the Papists, or to promote their antipathies against us; but because we are not contending for trifles...... As Protestants, we are bound-from the king [queen] to the humblest of his [her] subjects—by an imperious duty, to the Reformation. If the Reformation was worth establishing, it is worth maintaining; and it can only be maintained by constant vigilance in support of those principles which effected it in the sixteenth century." I
* The sentiments of our forefathers concerning the rapacity of the Pope or Bishop of Rome, and his spiritual tyranny“ upon the souls, bodies, and goods of all Christian people, excluding Christ out of his kingdom and rule of man's soul (as much as may be), and all other temporal kings and princes out of their dominions,” are forcibly set forth at considerable length in the preamble to the statute 28 Hen. VIII., c. 10, entitled “ An Act extinguishing the authority of the Bishop of Rome.”
+ Offices for the ordination of presbyters and for the consecration of bishops. #Bishop Barrington's Sermons and Charges, pp. 436, 437.
Art. VII.–Vigilantius and his Times. By the Rev. W. S.
GILLY, D.D., Canon of Durham, and Vicar of Norham, London: Seeleys. 1844.
NEVER, perhaps, did a book appear more seasonably, and better fitted for the times, than these sketches of some of the ecclesiastical worthies of the fourth century. It is a calm and well-digested sketch of a most interesting and important period of Church history; and opens out to us, in the story of a few individuals, the principles of that change, from the simplicity of the Gospel to the elaborate superstitions of the Papacy, which was most observable in the fourth century. Christianity had now become the religion of the State ; and being no longer assailed by foreign violence, or weighed down by the arm of power, it externally presented a thriving and vigorous appearance. But the canker-worm was spreading its secret ravages within. In the unscrupulous ardour of the spirit of proselytism, the most unworthy means were adopted to multiply the disciples of the new religion. To conciliate Gentile prejudices, and to swell the number of Christian converts, who were such at least in outward form and semblance, whatever they might be in spirit and in truth, the rites and practices of heathenism were largely admitted into the bosom of the Christian Church, and by a gradual and fatal process “ Christianity was Paganized in order to christen Paganism." The heart was the last place that was attacked, and consequently the last to yield; men who were heathens in principle became Christians in profession, and the standard of Christian holiness was brought down to the level of heathen practice.
During the third century a host of hermits and cenobites, whose austerities and self-inflicted torments the ignorant multitude mistook for piety, stood between the clergy and the people. Their possession of an almost unlimited influence, and their intrusive exercise of an imperium in imperio, the clergy could not brook with patience, and it behoved them to resort to similar means to secure the reverence and attachment of the laity. Priests, therefore, became monks, and monks were admitted into the priesthood ; and asceticism and monachism were in the ascendant in the fourth century as much from policy as from choice. Men imperceptibly began to receive falsehood as truth; the Bible was gradually cast aside ; marvellous tales of hermits and anchorites were progressively substituted for its holy teaching; and the Supreme Being was seen through such å mist of error, that instead of a merciful and gracious God, he was looked upon as a God of vengeance, delighting in the misery of his creatures.
In “ Vigilantius and his Times” Dr. Gilly has touched upon some of the most important doctrines constituting the difference between the Reformed Churches and that of Rome, and has treated these subjects in a tone of seriousness and Christian charity that must excite the respect even of those who differ from him. The miracles of the fourth century; saint and relic worship; prayers to and for the dead; asceticism and celibacy, are considered with reference to the persons who, in connection with Vigilantius, figure in these pages. The causes and growth of superstitious practices are discussed with fairness and judgment; and we hope that the eyes of some may be opened to see the results of that teaching which has a tendency to revive, in our own days, the very practices which were opposed by Vigilantius fourteen hundred years ago.
Perhaps we cannot better recommend - Vigilantius and his Times” than by giving an outline of his history, even at the risk of doing much injustice to the author's style and language, by condensing his matter, while we cannot avoid employing his expressions. Vigilantius was born about A.D. 364, in the small village of Calagorris, now Houra, lying upon the northern side of the Pyrenees, on the great paved road leading from Aquitain into Spain. His father was the keeper of the mansio or station at Calagorris, where travellers were provided with relays of horses and with guides for their journey; and to this his birth-place and his early occupation Vigilantius was probably indebted for the Christian bias of his mind and his first attainments in general knowledge ; for at that period the communication between the distant provinces of the Roman empire was so safe and expeditious, that even the passage of the Alps and Pyrenees was an undertaking of perfect ease; and the son of the innkeeper, at the entrance of the mountain passes, would be frequently brought into close and familiar intercourse with the illustrious travellers who made his father's house their resting-place, and then took him as their guide across the mountains.
During the youth of Vigilantius several councils and synods were held (particularly those of Saragossa, in 380, and Bordeaux, in 384), which would afford him an opportunity of receiving instruction from some of the eminent ecclesiastics in their progress to and from Spain; but we have no account of his earliest religious impressions; and to Sulpicius Severus he was indebted for his decided conversion to Christianity. Vigilantius was taken into the service of Sulpicius about the year 390 as a “simple domestic;" he was then appointed to the superintendence of some of his master's estates in Spain, and
rom thence he was recalled to take up his abode under Sulpicius's own roof, at one of his villas in Aquitain. “Here he had every opportunity of improving his mind, and of mixing with the best literary and religious society of the province," which was at that time so rich in native genius and eloquence, that it was said to be “the flower, the ornament, and the glory of Gaul."
Sulpicius Severus was acknowledged by his contemporaries to be one of the most accomplished men of his age and country: "vir genere et literis nobilis.” (Gennadius). “Fori celebritate diversans, et facundi nominis palmam tenens.” (Paulini, Epist. I.)-Vigilantius, &c., p. 35. Little is known of his character as a Christian until after the death of his wife, when he retired from worldly pleasures and pursuits under the hope that he should find consolation in the exercise of religious duties, and in the study of sacred literature. It was shortly after his retirement that Vigilantius entered his family, and, happily for himself, had an opportunity of witnessing the piety and well-directed talents of Sulpicius, before the lustre of both was dimmed by the breath of asceticism and superstition. “ Sulpicius writing an abridgment of the Bible, and occupied daily in consulting and transcribing Scripture; Sulpicius endeavouring to imitate the first patterns of Christianity, feeding the hungry, visiting the sick, receiving the wanderer into his house, and regulating his whole life by evangelical precepts; Sulpieius building churches and promoting public and family worship; Sulpicius gathering about him the learned, the pious, and the wise, and discussing religious subjects ; Sulpicius in the height of his fame, when everybody admired and loved him” (p. 136), was a guide to whom the docile, though enquiring mind of the youthful Vigilantius might be entrusted with implicit confidence. But the grief of Sulpicius soon sought for other relief than a patient waiting for the time when the same fatherly hand which had inflicted the wound should pour in the healing balm of heavenly consolation: he applied to St. Martin, of Tours, for advice and religious comfort; and Martin, instead of directing his thoughts and affections in a right channel, seems to have taught him to consider his affliction as a token of God's wrath for sins, for which he must make expiation by a life of the most rigid mortification and austerities. “ Under the influence of Martin (says Dr. Gilly), Sulpicius began to convert a household of faith into a scene of the grossest superstition : he denied himself the necessaries of life, and he exhausted his strength by long fastings and devotional exercises, which lasted through the greater