Imatges de pÓgina

2. “We cannot sufficiently express our astonishment” say the declaring Bishops,

“at such a charge. We hold tbat ibe obligation of an Oath is most sacred : for by an oaib, man calls the Almighty Searcher of Hearts, to witness the sincerity of his conviction of the truth or what he asserts, and his fidelity in performing the engagement he makes. Hence, wliosoever swears falsely, or violates the lawful engagement he has confirmed by an oath, not only offends against truth, or justice, but against religion. He is guilty of the

enormous crime of perjury. 3. "No power in any Pope, or Council,” say the declaring Bishops, or in any

individual, or body of men, invested with authority in the Catholic Church, can make it lawful for a Catholic to confirm any falsehood by an oath; or dispeuse with any oath, by which a Catholic has confirmed his duty of allegiance to his Sovereign, or any obligation of duty or justice to a third person. He who takes an oath is bound to observe it, in the obvious meaning

of the words, or in the known meaning of the person to whom it is sworn.” 2. & 3. “Do you really mean, it will be demanded, to accuse the Romanist body, of adherence to such principles, notwithstanding their repeated, and solemn a bjuration ?

I thus answer in reply at once, to this question, and to the second and third paragraphs, of this section, — The Vicars Apostolic knew the extent of their oath to observe the Canons, which permit and command, the violation of an oath- or they did not?

“If they did know it, they are guilty of the most shameful insincerity, and their religious oath must be preferred to their present solemo asseverations.

"If they were ignorant of its extent, we believe their present declaration; but we now invite them to act upon their convictions of the indefensible doctrines of the Church of Rome, and to prove that they are worthy of confidence, by abjuring her communion, and by inviting their Romanist countrymen to follow their patriotic example."

We should be glad if our limits would allow us also to extract the section which follows “On allegiance to our Sovereign and obedience to the Pope;" but after what we have said it is needless to add that we strongly recommend the whole pamphlet to the attention of our readers, and that we earnestly wish to see " the Declaration,” exposed as it is by Mr. Townsend's sensible plain dealing, in the hands of every sincere and reflecting Protestant.



To the Editor of the Protestant Guardian. Sir,— Your prospectus having fallen into my hands, I take the liberty even to anticipate your first number, because the subject to which I wish to call your attention, appears to me to be of great importance in such an undertaking as that, in which you are about to embark. I may seem to do you injustice by supposing it possible, either that you have not sufficiently weighed, or erroneously decided, any such point; but I will freely confess, that I have met with so many, whom I can cordially agree with on most other points, who have appeared to me to err upon this one, that I cannot help sending these reinarks, which though needless for your own guidance, may perhaps be of use to some of your readers.

In the controversy upon which you are entering, it seems to be peculiarly necessary to consider the mode, in which it is to be conducted, or (to borrow the phrase of Mr. Butler) what is "the proper spirit of controversy.” That gentleman has a letter on the subject, at the beginning of his Book of the Roman Catholic Church, in which he says,

• When there is so near an approximation in religious creeds, there certainly should be an equal approximation in Christian and moral charity; an equal wish to sooth, to conciliate, to find the real points of difference very few, and to render them still fewer ; * and an unwillingness on each side to say, or to write any thing unpleasing to the feelings of the other.” (p. 3.) To those, who read hastily, there may appear to be something very fine in this, and indeed I find so many Protestants who appear to be captivated by such talk, that I am afraid I shall be charged with a most unchristian want of charity, liberality, candour, courtesy and all the characteristic virtues of our enlightened age, when I express my full conviction, that the spirit which Mr. Butler describes is not "the proper spirit of controversy," and my fervent hope that a very different spirit will pervade your work.

I could indeed have freely agreed with Mr. Butler, if he had said “When there is so near an approximation in the professed opinions of careless Protestants and artful Roman Catholics, as to encourage a hope that, by proper management, the Protestant may be led to entrust the government of his Church to those whom his ancestors found it needful to exclude from legislative power, it is the obvious policy of the Roman Catholics, to sooth, to conciliate, to find the real points of difference very few, and to dissemble those points which they do find, and to use their utmost endeavours to bring their opponents in controversy to pursue the same course, so as to produce an equal unwillingness on both sides to say, or write, any thing unpleasing to the feelings of the other.” To such a statement I could subscribe without hesitation. It describes the very spirit which those whose object it is to lull suspicion, and beguile simplicity, must needs desire to cultivate; but I will venture to say it is not the proper spirit of controversy. If I mistake not, that name should only be given to the spirit of simplicity and godly sincerity, which, considering truth as the great end of controversy, goes strait forward in search of it-which, when it has grasped what it believes to be the hid treasure, is resolved to keep it against all comers, until fair argument shall shew that the fancied gold is dross,--and which, in the mean time will not suffer him, who thinks that he holds what is above all price, to surrender it to the blustering declaimer, who would wrest it from him, to the sophistical schoolman who could cheat him out of it, to the sneering banterer who would make him ashamed of it, or even to the smirking jesuit who would wheedle him out of it. This is a spirit which while it would scorn to insult, and grieve to wound, the feelings of an adversary, is in fact least of all likely to do

• I quote this phrase without understanding it, and shall be very glad to see it explained. I cannot imagine how any member of the Church of England, or of Rome, can render the “real points of difference” between those Churches, “ fewer" than lie finds them. Has it any meaning, or is it only (what one too often sees) liberalism exaggerated into nonsense ?

80, because it addresses itself simply to the subject matter in dispute, without any reference at all to the opponent. It receives an argu, ment as the cashier of a bank receives a bill presented by a stranger, Without one word of criticism on the stature, the coat, or the coun: tenance of the presenter, he calmly takes the bill and exainines it minutely by those criteria which the document itself supplies, and, when he is satisfied, either at once rejects it as worthless, or honors it to its full amount—this too without passion and invective on the one hand, or reluctance and subterfuge on the other, and without caring, or professing to care, who the man may be that brings it.

Such I conceive to be “the proper spirit of controversy,” and I know that it is a spirit very difficult to maintain. I know well the temptation which a writer is under, to take advantage of the accidental circumstances of the controversy ; to draw the reader from the argument to the person of his opponent; and to seek that applause, which he could not win in close argument, either for the candour with which he praises the virtues, or the acuteness with which he exposes the faults of his adversary. The coarse polemic of former days, even when he was restrained by no honesty, was commonly satisfied with the latter praise only, and raised the growl of triumph as soon as his superior ferocity was confessed; but the courtesy of modern controversy aspires to the double wreath, and has contrived to shew how words which are “ softer than oil

may be “ drawn swords." This very circumstance, however, is the principal security against the mischief which might otherwise follow. It is, and by persons of reflection it is seen to be, mere hypocricy. The introduce tory smile and frank cordiality of manner, which, before a word is said, seems to upbraid your forgetfulness and assure you of the presence of some loving old friend whom you have forgotten—the fluent compliment, which, while it dispels this illusion, engenders one yet more flattering, and leads you to believe that a polished stranger is seeking the acquaintance of one whose talents and virtues he admires -even these urbane preliminaries and the cap-in-hand courtesy which is kept up during the interview, are not sufficient to conceal the fact, that your visitor came only to insult you, and did but exaggerate your virtues, and his admiration of them, in order that he might gain credit for his own politeness, and express with more dramatic effect, his surprise that so good a man should be so base a villain. All this is sufficiently obvious to those, who reflect on the subject; and I know not that I should have addressed you on the subject were it not equally certain, though perhaps not quite so obvi. ous to all, that the Roman Catholics exact from us this sickly delicacy of phrase, in order that they may represent our courtesy as concession. My chief object indeed was to bring before you a very striking instance of this dishonest proceeding, but I have already run to such a length, that it must form the subject of another letter, in case you see fit to insert this; and will probably lead to your hearing again from

Your obedient servant,



To the Editor of the Protestant Guardian. SIR,-I send you a very extraordinary letter, copied from the Black Book of Christ Church, Dublin, written in the year 1538, from Rome, by the Bishop of Meath, to the Great O'Neill, which derives peculiar interest from the present aspect of affairs.

A. RECTOR. Letter from the Bishop of Meath to the Great O'Neill. O'Neill,—Thou and thy father were all along faithful to the Church of Rome. His Holiness Paul, now Pope, and the Council of the Holy Father, have lately found out a prophecy, there remaining, of one St. Latesianus, an Irish Bishop of Cashel, wherein he saith, “ that the Mother-Church of Rome falleth, when in Ireland the Catholic faith is overcome!”.

Therefore, for the glory of the Mother-Church, the honour of St. Peter, and your own secureness, suppress heresy in His Holiness' enemies; for when the Roman faith there perisheth, the See of Rome faileth also. Therefore the Council of Cardinals have thought fit to encourage your country of Ireland as a sacred Island: being certi. fied while the Mother Church hath a son of worth as yourself, and of those that shall succour you and join therein, she will never fall, but have more or less a holding in Britain in spite of fate.

Thus having obeyed the order of the most sacred Council, we recommend your princely person to the Holy Trinity, to the Blessed Virgin, St. Peter and St. Paul, and the heavenly host. Amen.

EPISCOPOS METENSIS. Romæ 4 Kalend : Maii 1538.



The accounts we have already given of the numerous conversions to Protestantism in France, are fully verified by a debate which lately took place in the Chamber of Deputies, when a Roman Catholic Member, M. Sebastiani, addressed the assembly in the following terms:-“Il n'y a plus en France d'autres semenees de troubles et de divisions que celles qu'excite les prétensions exorbitantes du Clergé. La marche qu'il suit nous ramène à l'impieté et au philosophisme intolérant qui précéda la revolution; elle fait déser

ter les autels et abandonnes une religion que l'on suppose à tort inconciliable avec les libertés puh. liques. Desa, vous le savez, les abjurations devienne fréquentes : déjà PLUS DE TROIS MILLE IN dividus des environs de Lyons, ont embrassé la communion Protestante.” This declaration caused a great sensation among the Deputies: but no one ventured to deny the truth of the satatement. We learn also, that seven hundred Roman Catholics in Paris have signed a declaration of their intention to conform to the Protestant Church, which, however, they de


fer till the number amounts to one the immortal interests of those we thousand, when they are at once are to conduct to a better world, to abjure the errors of the Romish the deep convictions of our own Faith.” (Christian Examiner and hearts, and the loud voice of conChurch of Ireland Magazine.) science, move us to lay before you

the following, in a plain and sim

ple narration, for your examinaIt will doubtless be known to tion and judgement. May God many of our readers, that the Ro- condemn us if our intentions be man Catholic Clergy in Silesia not upright—if our lips speak not have presented a memorial to the with sanctity from the abundance Prince Bishop of Breslau, signed of the heart.” They then enter by persons of the higbest stations into some considerations on the in the Church, praying him to use state of the Roman Catholic Church every exertion to procure a refor- in Germany, confessing that the mation of the existing abuses in existing abuses have forced not their worship. We are anxious only individuals, but whole parhowever to give a connected view ishes, to separate themselves froin of this important occurrence, and their communion, and that a desire shall therefore present our readers to prevent such fearful schism has with the following extracts which forced many Priests to lay aside contain, we believe, the main par- the Latin language in the worship ticulars.

of God, and following the example The address is thus introduced : of the reformed Churches, to intro"To the Most Reverend and duce German Hymns and Psalms Gracious Prince Bishop. With for the congregation to sing in the deepest reverence; but im- different parts of the mass, as they pressed with those elevated fcel, justly complained of a service, in ings, which the importance and which the Priest alone addressed sanctity of the circumstance re- his prayers to the throne of mercy. quire; and with the confidence, They add, that though their Bishops which we repose in the enlightened had never prohibited their alteraviews and pious zeal of your Grace, tions in their worsbip, they are not to forward the glory, and promote satisfied to enjoy this Reformation the efficiency of our Church; we as it were, by stealth, and therethe undersigned Clergy of the fore request the Prince Bishop of Diocese, have recourse to your Breslau, to exert himself to proLordship in a matter very impor- cure a public recognition of these tant, as we believe, to the dignity proceedings by the other Prelates of our calling, and to the spiritual of Germany. That much, besides, welfare of the souls committed to needs amendment; for instance, our care. Before we venture to in the early Church, (here authomake known our humble requests, rities are given) the Lord's Supper we bear our public and solemn tes- was never celebrated, excepting timony, and call on God the when the faithful communicated Omniscient, the searcher of the with the Priest,--that this practice heart, to whom the night is clear should again be strictly

observed as the day; and on Jesus Christin their congregations. That many the holy Founder of our Church, alterations have been made in the who will guide and protect it to old ritual, and numerous superthe end of days; and on the stitious ceremonies added, -ihat Holy Ghost, the Spirit of Truth, these should be abolished, and the who searcheth all things, and wit- primitive simplicity restored. That nesses that neither the love of frequent preaching should be reinnovation, nor the desire of man's quired from all Pastors. Nothing praise, nor private interests, nor is said in this memorial of the selfish considerations ; but zeal celibacy of the Clergy, or on the for the prosperity of our Church, discipline and government of the

« AnteriorContinua »