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When we look at the success of efforts made to circulate widely the organs of the Popish press in England, we cannot but feel that the children of this world are still, in their generation, wiser than the children of light; who, satisfied that their cause, being that of the Bible, must prevail, are somewhat backward in using the means placed within their reach for promoting its success : means so placed, by Him who works through human instrumentality, in order that they may be turned to good account. We would press on our friends the great point of individual responsibility, and urge them to do—as we also are resolved, prayerfully, to do—the utmost that our mutual opportunities enable us; and to leave the event with the Most High.
JANUARY 1, 1842.
“ Watchman, what of the night?
Watchman, what of the night?
The morning cometh, and also the night ;
Isaiah, xxi. 11, 12.
The opening of a new year naturally leads the mind back over space already traversed; and on the present occasion we revert to the past and few preceding years with emotions where thankfulness certainly predominates. God hath not dealt with us after our sins, nor rewarded us after our iniquities: had he so done, surely we had, ere now, ceased to be a nation ; or, at the least, we should find ourselves on the brink of political dissolution. Such, however, is not our case. If the full vigour of health does not animate our frame, we yet exhibit symptoms of a favourable reaction, and increasing effort to throw off the disease that undermines our strength. Events, not in themselves calculated particularly to arrest the public gaze, but nevertheless of high and deep importance to the country, have indicated a decided progress towards the assertion and the maintenance of truly Protestant principles. Rome understands this, and feels it too. Her deepest policy, as regards our church, has only, as yet, succeeded in forcing the scum to the surface, where it floats in the sight of all men, and whence she is at full liberty to gather it for her own use. This is not what she purposed. God has made foolish all her earthly, sensual, devilish wisdom, and is overruling to our lasting good what was subtilly plotted for our destruction. Neither has the secular policy of the arch enemy, prospered better than her ecclesiastical manœuvres ; there is, God be praised ! a tie formed that she cannot sever. Protestant England and Protestant Prussia, the two sharpest thorns that vex her side, are harmoniously seeking, and resolved to keep, the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace; and Rome VOL. IV.Jan. 1842.
knows how sure is the word spoken to a believing people, whether they be Jew or Gentile.“ One of you shalĩ chase a thousand, and two put ten thousand to flight.'
It is now not quite thirteen years since we provoked the Lord to jealousy by tasting of great Babylon's wine cup, politically only in the first instance, but spiritually also in due time, as the progress of clerical apostasy has shewn.
has shewn. With how meek and an aspect, and in what silvery tones did the modest supplicant then crave to participate in privileges from which our forefathers had wisely debarred her children ; and how devoutly did they swear, all mental reservation solemnly disclaimed, that they would never use those conceded privileges to the detriment of our Protestant establishment in church or state. Let Ireland bear testimony to their fidelity in ecclesiastical matters; and for the other branch, their own leading organ, the “ Catholic Magazine" shall give evidence. In the December Number, we have the announcement of the event that filled all hearts with gladness ; the birth of our beloved Prince of Wales; and thereto are appended these audacious remarks. We beg our friends to read and to ponder them attentively.
“ But happy as we are to record an event as deeply interesting as it is fortunate, in a national point of view, there is one circumstance connected with the birth of the royal child and his future destiny as sovereign, not without an alloy of pain, the more particularly painful, as it may ultimately affect the free and conscientious choice of the illustrious infant when he reaches that period of life when he should act and judge for himself. We have said that the right of succession of the Prince to the crown of Great Britain does not depend upon any contingent
We were mistaken ; there is one and only one event which, as the law stands, may debar the Prince of Wales from the throne of the Alfreds, the Edwards, and the Bruces. The crown, after being Catholic for a thousand years, during which the foundations of everything great, and noble, and free, were laid wide and deep in the land, by one of those freaks of legislation, the result of faction or cabal, was declared Protestant. Fortunately, however, the laws of England are not immutable, as were those of the Medes and Persians; and it is to be hoped that, at no distant day, an enlightened legislature will place the sovereigns of this country upon the same footing with their subjects in the all-important affair of religion. Long may the succession to the crown continue in the present line, but it is not necessary for its continuance, that the conscience of the sovereign should be placed under the ban of a forfeiture.”—Catholic Magazine, No. lix. p. 728.
The cool, consummate impudence of this English Papist, absolutely throws the Corn Exchange of Dublin into oblivious shade. So then, the Act of Settlement was a FREAK OF LEGIS
LATION, the result of FACTION OR CABAL !" and our trustworthy allies, who are so deeply sworn to uphold and maintain the integrity of our Protestant constitution, are consoling themselves that, “Fortunately," THE LAWS OF ENGLAND ARE NOT IMMUTABLE! No, they are not; the Christian people of England know that equally well with the Romanist; and knowing it, they place their trust, not on human legislators, but on Him who is immutable, and who has given the irrevocable promise that they that trust in Him shall never be confounded. No apprehension mingles with the disgust excited by this betrayal of a treasonable conspiracy against the Protestant succession. No man in his right senses ever doubted its existence; but the acknowledgment is valuable, as a rebuke to those who would persuade us that our Protestant associations may now with safety be abandoned.
A word or two more of our contemporary. In his number for August appeared a letter, introductory of a certain treatise, which has occupied a prominent space in the four succeeding numbers. The writer commences-“ As the great principles of tradition and church authority are now beginning to be admitted, not only by the authors of the Tracts for the Times,' but also by several other eminent writers;" and then proceeds to quote the “ British Critic,” which says,
- In the sense in which it is commonly understood at this day, Scripture is not, on Anglican principles, the rule of faith ;” and Dr. Pusey, to the same effect. The treatise is called " The Commonitorium of St. Vincent of Lerins,” and contains some notable admissions to be hereafter glanced at. But we cannot omit the closing paragraph of the introductory letter, being a quotation from Lingard, to the truth and justness of which we admiringly assent. “Protestants of the present day make the reading of the Bible the essence of Christianity; they tell us that we are bound to search the Bible, to look upon the Bible as our only rule of faith, to admit nothing but hat is contained in the Bible ; they are perpetually talking of Bible societies, and Bible distributors, of Biblical education, and Biblical Christians. Yet of all this we do not meet with a single syllable in the creed, nor in the public instructions which have come down to us, delivered by the ancient teachers of Christianity to the catechumens and neophytes.” Exactly so, Dr. Lingard; and therefore it is that we Protestants, whose religion is the Bible, and the Bible alone, are Protestants against your whole system, and all the traditionary lore that has “ come down” to you—vain traditions received from your fathers, by which you make void the commandments of God.
The “ Commonitorium,” thus introduced, contains some orthodox doctrines, as opposed to the various heresies of the Nestorians, Pelagians, &c.; and proceeds very cunningly to establish the assumed right of Mary to divine honours, by conclusions drawn from such premises. The craft is great, and calculated to take in the unlearned and unstable, by a fair show of logical deductions that will not bear close examination. Then follow high commendations of Origen and Tertullian, with much cautionary matter against their errors—i.e., the quantum of scriptural truth intermixed in their writings. The general conclusion drawn from each instance of either real or asserted error, is this: that when a man preaches anything seemingly according to God's word, and confirmed in every possible way, it is a temptation to try the hearer, whether he loves God or no; this love to God being always manifested by an unhesitating, unwavering, blind obedience to the authority of “the church.” This leads us at once to the main point; and those are addressed who are kept from embracing the Popish faith by not sufficiently studying its doctrines; they are invited so to do—an invitation that, it would appear, has not been lost on some of our inquiring clericaļ brethren, who pass their leisure hours at Oscott, and similar seats of Popish learning:—the indolent prosiness of style gives place to vigour; the language becomes energetic, tart, sarcastic; and the foot-notes, multiplying, drive home the text, with frequent reference to individuals. In the closing paper a furious onset is made on Protestant teachers for their constant reference to Scripture. “ That they may the more craftily steal upon the incautious sheep, they lay aside the appearance of wolves, still retaining their wolfish ferocity, and hide themselves under passages from the Scriptures, as if it were with certain fleeces; so that when any one feels the softness of their wool, he may not fear the sharpness of their teeth,” &c. The following morceau refers to the temptation in the wilderness :-“When we hear any one quoting the Scriptures against Catholic faith, we may have no doubt but that the devil speaks by their mouth.* For as the head then spoke to the head, so now the members speak to the members, the members of the devil, I mean, to the members of Christ; the faithless to the faithful; the wicked to the holy; heretics to catholics. But, finally, what does he say?
If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down;' that is, if thou desirest to be the Son of God, and to obtain the inheritance of his heavenly kingdom, cast thyself down;' that is, cast thyself down from the doctrine and tradition of this heavenly church, which is called the temple of God.... But some one will sayIf the devil and his disciples make use of passages and promises from Scripture, of whom some are false apostles, some false prophets and teachers, and all heretics-how shall catholics and the children of their mother, the church, act? How shall they discern in the Scriptures truth from falsehood ?" [We pray our readers to mark this charge against the Scriptures, of containing falsehood intermixed with truth.] “They must do that which, in
* All the italics are given as in the original.