Page images

in swearing the people to perpetual loyalty at the former time, are now the foremost in exciting them to hatred of everything English, and to as much of sedition and open rebellion as the strength of combination among themselves, or the weakness of those who should rule them, renders at all safe or prudent. And these open and palpable signs are not those which are in our estimation the worst; for we see a spirit working in the priests, and infused by them into the people, which shows that, in lust of domination, and in rancour and intolerance, as in faith, the Papacy still remains what it was in the dark ages—that it is unchanged, unsoftened by all the boasted civilization of this enlightened age--that where there appears to be toleration, it is only infidelity—and that wheresoever there is Roman faith, it is the same intolerant Rome which we read of in history.

The animus of Ireland, under the guidance of O'Connell and the priests, has been too clearly manifested to be mistaken ; every disaster likely to come upon England, whether from war, or commercial distress, or insurrection, or famine, is hailed by them as a subject of congratulation. And although some of the too open expressions of hate, and some of the direct offers of assistance by foreign forces, have been put down or waived by O'Connell, this has arisen from no good feeling, but merely from a lawyer's caution, and some little remaining fear of the Attorney-General. And it is well understood by his followers, and they are content to abide his time—the time when they may safely give vent to their feelings; in the mean time taking care to be ever nursing their wrath to keep it warm.”

“At a time when Popery appears to be mustering all its energies for renovation of its tarnished glories and its diminished power ...... it will scarcely be thought unseasonable to rouse the attention of the. Protestant population of these realms to the means by which that Church acquired her extraordinary power-to the spirit with which she has wielded it for above a thousand years, with which she is animated to this very day, and which, unless an effectual barrier be opposed, threatens at no distant period to produce most calamitous results. Such is the object of these volumes.”—Preface.

“ The curse of Popery rests upon unhappy Ireland, the prey of priests and political conspirators, whose seditious incitements have urged her inflammable population to the verge of rebellion. This is the real grievance under which that devoted country is suffering Popery presses like an incubus upon it, paralyzes industry, drains its resources, depraves the national character, stifles every feeling of independence, and degrades the votaries into blind slaves of its arbitrary will.” (xv.) “ Let statesmen-let legislators prate as they please of the present harmlessness of Popish principles-of the mildness of mitigated Catholic doctrines-stubborn facts give them the lie, and proclaim the unchanged


and unchangeable spirit of persecution which still rankles in the bosom of Popery." (xi.)

In contemplating Popery, the intellectual blindness and moral obtuseness which it has produced, should never be overlooked, as it is only through the obliteration of these natural attributes of man that we are able to understand, or even credit, the unnatural crimes and wholesale indiscriminate massacres which have been recorded as instances of Papal intolerance in past times. And if we see the same prostration of understanding and the same yielding of conscience still exacted from the people by the Romish clergy, we may rest assured that there will be no holding back of the hand of the people from executing any measures of intolerance, however violent, however unnatural they may appear, if they should be enjoined by a priesthood which has acquired such an ascendancy over the understandings and consciences of men. Southey seems to have been astonished at the phenomenon, while he sees it to be the only possible way of accounting for the facts; and he remarks that the priests and monks themselves must often have been utterly astonished at the success of the gross deceptions which they were continually practising on the public credulity. For

“ The Church of Rome appears to have delighted in insulting, as well as in abusing, the credulity of mankind, and to have pleased itself with discovering how far it was possible to subdue and degrade the human intellect. If farther proof were needed, it would be found in the prodigious doctrine of transubstantiation. According to this, in the sacrament, when the words of consecration have been pronounced, the bread becomes that same actual body of flesh and blood in which Christ suffered upon the cross-remaining bread to the sight, touch, and taste, yet ceasing to be so; and into how many parts soever the bread may be broken, the whole entire body is contained in every part. Of all the corruptions of Christianity, there was none that the Popes so long hesitated to sanction as this. At length, at the fourth Lateran Council (A.D. 1215), it was declared by Innocent III. to be tenet necessary to salvation. With the people, this doctrine had become popular for its very extravagance-with the

clergy, because they grounded upon it their loftiest pretensions...... The priest, when he performed this stupendous function, had before his eyes, and held in his hands, the Maker of heaven and earth; and the inference which they deduced from so blasphemous an assumption was, that the clergy were not to be subject to any secular authority, seeing that they could create God, their Creator. Let it not be supposed that the statement is in the slightest degree exaggerated; it is delivered faithfully, in their own words.” (p. 39). The object of the author of this work is not so much to point



out the corruptions of the Roman Church and the superstitions it has introduced, as to record the terrible intolerance of this pseudo-Christianity, in the exterminating persecutions and wholesale massacres which it has instigated : such as whole nations, in the Albigenses and Waldenses; or from 40,000 to 100,000, as it has been variously computed, in the massacre of St. Bartholomew. The author briefly traces the rise and progress of the Papal power, in the first fifty pages; and the remainder of the first volume is occupied with the persecutions of the Albigenses, the Inquisition, the Lollards, the Waldenses, and the persecutions in France, 1560-1572. The second volume treats of the massacre of St. Bartholomew, the persecutions in the Cevennes, and those which have continued, as of the Salzburghers and Zillerthalers, to the present time.

And let us not too charitably or too credulously conclude that it is impossible for such scenes to be re-enacted in our own day, Ferocity is never obsolete in the natural man, and such an one, steeped in superstition, becomes twice a brute. A journal which professes to represent enlightened Romanism has written—“What a wretched mockery it is to compare the Protestantism of the miserable apostates of the Reformation to the faith of those primitive witnesses for Christ who boldly declared before Pagan tribunals that they hoped for salvation through the intercession of all the saints!" (Dublin Review, June, p. 317). We are of the faith of those who are thus bitterly alluded to as “miserable apostates :" and we should exceedingly shrink from the trial of being consigned over to the tender mercies of those who could thus speak of our spiritual fathers; for we are quite sure that to men of this spirit, the power only to persecute is lacking; and that to them the power only of old Rome is lacking; had they this, the fate of Huss, or of Cranmer, might be ours. It might be deemed a sacred duty of the Church to rid the world of a miserable apostate."

And we think, from the whole tenor of the article to which we are alluding, that Mr. Tyler must be very much of our opinion; for it is quite evident that a stake at Smithfield would be preparing for him if such an one as Mary were now upon the throne of England. May God in his mercy avert this from us ! And in the mean time let Mr. Tyler console himself, under the abuse which has been heaped upon him, by the thought, that his book must have been felt as a very heavy blow, to have drawn forth not only a long article of vituperation, but more last words in the very unusual form of an appendix of more than twenty pages. All this is mere mystification, just to throw dust in the eyes of the poor Roman Catholic dupes, and does not touch the point in hand-does not touch the argument. We remember being present at a public discussion between Romanists and Protestants, and seeing a man enter with three prodigious folios, under the weight of which he actually staggered, and, after he had lifted them upon the table, seeing the satisfactory nod that he gave, as much as to say, " Ah! its all over with the Protestants now”-a sentiment which seemed to be responded to in sympathetic nods by all the Romanists present. This was the first and the last public controversy at which it has been our fortune to be present; but we were not slow in divining that these same bulky folios were not intended to be opened ; that the men who brought the books spoke for them, and it was to be presumed had read every jot and tittle, or they would never have brought them; and if not, there were the books, and let them speak for themselves. We are quite serious in saying that the long rigmarole of names (pages 312 and 313) reminded us of this incident; and as the books were brought in for effect, so are these “ abundant materials.The ponderous folios were never opened by the disputant; the string of names in the Review is unaccompanied by any reference or extract; but this is of no consequence to the self-complacent individuals and their admiring votaries.

The point undertaken to be proved was, that the worship of the Virgin Mary, as at present practised in the Roman Church, is an unwarrantable innovation, contrary to Scripture-contrary to the practice of the primitive Church; and this point Mr. Tyler has proved. The reviewer knows that this point is proved he has not the hardihood to deny that it is proved; but he gets out of it as well as he can by the most convenient theory of development, and then draws off his readers to another scent, by referring to the invocation of Christ, and the doctrines of the Trinity. “We are, of course, not denying (says the reviewer) that the Catholic doctrine on the blessed Virgin and the saints has undergone some development since the time, e.g., of the Council of Ephesus; but this development, we will venture to say, is not by any means so material as is generally supposed.” (p. 311.) This virtually concedes the point as proved, yet does not commit the reviewer to anything definite; for what does the development, in this instance, mean? It means that she who was blessed

among women, and therefore only a woman, became in this process of development invested with the attributes of divinity ; and instead of being a woman, is now regarded by Rome as on a level with God, and presented as an object of worship to all mankind. We, together with the angel Gabriel and the holy fathers of the Church, cry, “All hail !" to her who was so highly favoured of the Lord; and blessed among women may she be called throughout all generations. But also, with the angel, we ascribe higher glory to the fruit of her womb; we call Him the Son of the Highest-the Son of God. We reserve for Him, and Him alone, of all the sons of men, yea, of all creatures, divine honours—worship due to God; and that because He was more than man- -was God-Man-was Creator as well as creature-was God of the substance of the Father, begotten before all worlds; as well as man of the substance of His mother, born in the world.

It is mere equivocation to call the doctrine of the Trinity, or the worship of Christ, developments, in the same sense in which the worship of the Virgin Mary is called a development; and it argues either such want of precision and such confusion of thought as would incapacitate any one for discussing such subjects, or it must be set down to something worse—to mystification and a wilful attempt to deceive. For the doctrine of the Trinity, and the divinity of Christ, are found everywhere in Scripture; and these doctrines were held most surely and indisputably by the faithful from the beginning; and the development of these doctrines was no innovation whatsoever-it was only a more minute and more accurate explanation of doctrines which had always been substantially held and implicitly believed -held even by Abraham, the father of the faithful, of whom Christ testified that he rejoiced to see afar off the day of the Lord. But the worship of saints has no place, as a doctrine, in the word of God, or in the practice of the primitive Church; it came in by degrees, during corrupt times, and as a novelty; and in order to render it tolerable, the Roman clergy were tempted to commit the further crime of mutilating the word of God—as in striking out the second commandment, which forbids such idolatry; and then, infatuated in folly, and grown wanton in their sensuality, they proceeded to the extremity of striking out the name of Jehovah from the divinely-inspired Psalms, and of substituting the name of Mary for Jehovah. Is this development? When the doctrines of the Trinity were brought out more clearly, and when Christ was most directly and intelligently worshipped, David, had he been then on earth, would have rejoiced, would have joined with all the faithful in their worship, and acknowledged that it was the development of the same truth which he had held in germ and embryo—that the being of the same Jehovah was developed in the Trinity and worshipped in Christ Jesus. But would the holy Psalmistwould the man after God's heart, have consented to substitute the name of Mary for that of Jehovah, in hymns dictated by the

« PreviousContinue »