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the beginning of this Commonitory, I mentioned to have been handed down to me by holy and learned men; they must interpret the divine canon according to the traditions of the universal church, and the rules of catholic doctrines.” The closing paragraph is as follows:-“But now it is time to bring forward those examples which I promised; where and how the judgment and opinions of the holy fathers have been gathered together, that the rule of faith may be fixed by them, according to the decrees and authority of an ecclesiastical council.” So at length we are promised that great desideratum, an explicit declaration of the Romish rule of faith. Alas! alas ! the editor places an extinguisher on all our hopes by the following brief but highly significant foot-note, tacked to the end of the paper:—“ This second Commonitory has unfortunately been lost.
There only remain four chapters, which, being a mere recapitulation of what he said in the preceding ones, I think it unnecessary to translate.
We should not have wearied our readers or ourselves with this idle stuff, but for two considerations, the one is, that a translation was made, published, circulated by the Oxford Tract gentlemen, and forms the text-book of many a thoughtless, unguarded young man, who has been set apart by his friends for the service of Christ in the ministry, and is thus being craftily seduced into the ranks of antichrist; the other, that it exhibits, in a proper light, the real extent of that charity so amiably professed towards us by the Romanist teachers of the present day. A spirit of hostility, not only unmitigated, but kindled into tenfold ferocity, is perpetually flashing out, more particularly in the notes of the translator; and when it is considered that the periodical in which these papers have appeared during five successive months, is avowedly the standard and leading work of the Popish periodical press in England, circulated throughout the whole Romish community, and in high request with no small section of our own deluded brethren, and that it is, moreover, now coming out in a greatly enlarged and improved form, we may be forgiven for devoting a larger space than we could have wished to the exposure of a small part of its poisonous properties.
Mr. Spencer has altogether disappeared from the pages of the Magazine, and of the “ Tablet.” We suspect his indiscreet zeal injured the cause. There is a sort of inherent honesty in the English character that requires to be early brought under the blighting influence of a false system to extinguish it effectually; and when nurtured, up to mature age, in the bosom of a noble family, and further strengthened by education in the doctrines of the Christian church and the duties of the Christian ministry, we must not wonder to find its embers occasionally emitting a spark even under all the quenching processes that Rome is so adroit in. Mr. Spencer has revealed too much; Mr. Sibthorpe
has revolted too soon; and altogether her Anglican truants are likely to occasion no small perturbation in the maternal bosom whereto they have returned. We would not seem to treat with levity a matter in itself so sad, and calling rather for lamentation over our lost brethren, and fervent supplication that the Lord may yet bring them back to the fold ; but we do feel a ineasure of satisfaction in tracing that lingering feature of manly honesty where all the rest is, alas, quickly turning into corruption! We firmly believe that the Romish church would far rather dismiss them, with their recantation recently signed, to the same oblivious flames to which she doomed Cranmer; though, perhaps, with the Spanish indulgence usually accorded to such reformed heretics, of previous strangulation, than parade them, the living trophies of her victory, and embarrassing members of her communion. “ The wine of the wrath of her fornication” takes
very speedy and deadly effect where she can safely administer it; in this country she cannot.
The “ Tablet” has recently adorned the region of its leading article with a very low piece of scurrility, in doggerel rhyme, on the Bishop of Jerusalem, and his family. That appointment has fallen upon the ear of the fore-doomed Mother of Abominations, like the audible splash of the millstone, cast by a mighty angel into the sea, to typify her coming fall. We have every reason to expect that her last efforts will be directed against the restored church of the circumcision; and we doubt not her protest against this appointment will soon assume a more tangible form, to the convulsing of many nations. What will be the consequence of this ? “ He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh ; the Lord shall have them in derision ; then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure. Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion." Let the waterfloods of earth rise and rage as they may, we know that the Lord is mightier, and that he doth and will reign over all.
Will not the Protestants of the united empire uphold and encourage us in the work of sustaining a firm protest against all that militates against the truth of God? We thankfully acknowledge that they do so to a great extent; and we confidently look to them for continued and increased co-operation. Among the periodicals of the day we assume a very unpretending place, and unostentatious garb; but we do trust that the Lord blesses us with his divine aid, enabling us to contend earnestly for the faith once delivered to the saints, and at the same time to prove that our warfare is not against men but against systems. Not that we would fritter away the reality of the thing by affecting to refrain from naming individuals whenever they stand forward as propounders or defenders of what we know to be false ; for instance, we do not shrink at this moment from declaring our firm conviction that the author of the Tract on “Reserve in communicating Religious Knowledge,” (Mr. Williams,) ought to be taught by an overwhelming majority against his election to the chair of poetry in Oxford, how repugnant his avowed doctrines are to Scripture, and therefore to the principles of the Church of England, in the sight of her sons. On all such occasions we desire to be found not only watching, but blowing the trumpet in the ears of the people; and we trust there is in this country a very large body of consistent Christians who, if they have not yet done so, will ere long come forward and unequivocally testify that they wish us success, in the name of the Lord.
We have much pleasure in laying before our readers the following excellent observations respecting the above grant, from the “ Christian Observer :"..
“We shall be glad to witness the revival, in the Ilouse of Commons, next session, of a body of religious persons firmly and zealously acting together for the promotion of Christian objects. It used to be in the Ilouse of Commons, as in ancient days, that they that feared the Lord spake often one to another, and the Lord hearkened and heard it;' but it has seemed to us that of late, there has been a grievous absence of such salutary co-operation. During the last session, upon such questions as Maynooth College, the Observance of the Lord's Day, and others involving directly religious considerations, though Sir R. Inglis, or Mr. Plumptre, or some other individuals might be at their post, and discharge their duty, there was not a compactly allied body of members, who might always be depended upon, as in the days of Mr. Wilberforce, and at more recent periods, to originate or uphold religious measures. What forbids such men to press, with their united strength, a bill for suppressing Sunday trading ? and so with regard to various other matters.
“We are thankful to Mr. Plumptre for again protesting against the annual grant to Maynooth, which Sir R. Peel unhappily determines to cling to, as he has done for thirty years, in and out of power. Even setting religious considerations aside, which, however, ought not to be set aside, we do not admit that there is any sufficient ground, either of policy or compact, for upholding that grant; but even if the grant were originally a covenant under the political disabilities of the Roman-catholic population, it ceased to be so when the Emancipation Bill placed the Romanist upon the same footing as Protestants. It happened, at the time of the discussions on that bill, that, having occasion to communicate with Sir R. Peel upon another matter, wé men
tioned the question of Maynooth, which at that time had scarcely been alluded to in Parliament, but which would before long be conscientiously agitated, as it has been, by the clergy and religious members of the church of England, and which would be an annual impediment in the path of a conservative ministry, as the opposition would come from many of its own friends ; men of just influence and high principle; and we respectfully suggested that at that particular moment it might be settled without much difficulty and with a good grace, as a boon was being bestowed upon the Roman Catholics; and it was quite fair to say, that as they were then to be placed upon the level of Protestant Dissenters, their ecclesiastical seminaries fell under the same category as Homerton or Hoxton; nor do we believe that they themselves would have found much fault with this position. Such another golden opportunity for doing a right thing pleasantly may not occur; but believing it to be a right thing, we hope, and doubt not, that Sir R. 8. Inglis, and all other members of the House of Commons who have hitherto protested against the grant, will continue their remonstrance, and divide the House upon the question, at whatever pain or inconvenience to themselves or their friends."
RETROSPECTS AND PROSPECTS.
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland has been particularly blessed by the overruling care and protection of Divine Providence during the year which has now pleted its revolution, and is for ever passed away. Among the mercies which have been vouchsafed to us, we would especially record the birth of an heir-apparent to the throne of these realms. It is an event which ought to fill our hearts with gratitude to God, because it is calculated, by his blessing, to strengthen the monarchy, and to afford greater security for the continuance of the succession in the Protestant line of the reigning house of Hanover. With regard to our religious affairs, it is pleasing to observe that, through the exertions of the heads of our church, a fund has been raised, by means of private contributions, for the endowment of bishoprics in the rapidly increasing dependencies of the British Empire. It is a fact equally gratifying, that the wealth of individuals has been liberally devoted to the pious object of building additional churches. The augmentation of small livings in England and Wales, from the proceeds of suspended canonries and prebends, will, we believe, prove highly beneficial to the interests of the Established Church. It should also be recorded, as a distinguishing feature in the past year, that the Archbishop of Canterbury and the bishops in general, have placed themselves at the head of the two great missionary societies of the Church of England, for spreading the knowledge of Christianity, both among the heathen and among the Jews. But with regard to the great and crowning event of the whole year, the consecration of a converted Israelite by the Archbishop of Canterbury as a Protestant bishop, to represent the Protestant Church of England at Jerusalem—this event is so wonderful in itself, and calculated to lead to such glorious consequences to the universal church of Christ, that we can only exclaim in the language of divine inspiration, “ According to this time, it shall be said of Jacob and of Israel, What hath God wrought?” It ought to excite peculiar gratitude in the breast of every Englishman, that this Christian country should have been selected as the honoured instrument for the accomplishment of the purposes of divine mercy to the long persecuted and afflicted house of Israel. Almost the first public act of our newly-formed Conservative administration, in relation to foreign affairs, was to convey the Bishop of Jerusalem in one of Her Majesty's steamers to the shores of Palestine, there to be received by the British Consul with every mark and demonstration of respect. But it is that Christian monarch, the King of Prussia, who, in the good Providence of God, has been raised up as the friend and protector of the Jewish nation, whom we are to regard as being chiefly employed in this extraordinary movement, by which the way appears to be opening for the restoration of the Jews to the land of their fathers. There is every reason to hope, that the reign of this enlightened sovereign will be greatly serviceable to Christianity, as well as to the cause of order and good government in Europe.
Thus far our retrospect of the past year is consolatory and encouraging; but unhappily there is a reverse side at which we are compelled to look. We grieve to say that a heresy of the most deadly kind has sprung up and made alarming progress in the Church of England; other doctrines have been proclaimed by several of her ministers than those of the Reformation, and of the gospel of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Two clergymen have gone over to the communion of the church of Rome, and others make no secret of having visited the Popish colleges, unhappily established and sanctioned by royal authority in this kingdom under the late administration, and since the passing of the Roman-catholic Relief Act in 1829.
It becomes, then, the duty of all the real friends of the Church of England to defend her at this juncture, as a protesting church against the errors and abominations of the Church of Rome. We believe that those who hold the dangerous and heretical opinions to which we have adverted, care little about preserving the connexion betwixt church and state ; whereas, this is a point of