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2. "We cannot sufficiently express our astonishment" say the declaring Bishops, "at such a charge. We hold that the obligation of an Oath is most sacred: for by an oath, man calls the Almighty Searcher of Hearts, to witness the sincerity of his conviction of the truth of what he asserts, and his fidelity in performing the engagement he makes. Hence, whosoever 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 dispense 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 abjuration?
"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 solemn 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.
ON THE PROPER SPIRIT OF CONTROVERSY.
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 1 cannot help sending these remarks, 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 he finds them. Has it any meaning, or is it only (what one too often sees) liberalism exaggerated into nonsense?
so, because it addresses itself simply to the subject matter in dispute, without any reference at all to the opponent. It receives an argument 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 countenance of the presenter, he calmly takes the bill and examines 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 introductory 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,
LETTER TO O'NEILL.
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.
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.
Romæ 4 Kalend: Maii 1538.
RECANTATIONS IN FRANCE. "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
fer till the number amounts to one thousand, when they are at once to abjure the errors of the Romish Faith." (Christian Examiner and Church of Ireland Magazine.)
REFORMATION ON THE CONTINENT. It will doubtless be known to many of our readers, that the Roman Catholic Clergy in Silesia have presented a memorial to the Prince Bishop of Breslau, signed by persons of the highest stations in the Church, praying him to use every exertion to procure a reformation of the existing abuses in their worship. We are anxious however to give a connected view of this important occurrence, and shall therefore present our readers with the following extracts which contain, we believe, the main particulars.
The address is thus introduced : -"To the Most Reverend and Gracious Prince Bishop. With the deepest reverence; but impressed with those elevated feel ings, which the importance and sanctity of the circumstance require; and with the confidence, which we repose in the enlightened views and pious zeal of your Grace, to forward the glory, and promote the efficiency of our Church; we the undersigned Clergy of the Diocese, have recourse to your Lordship in a matter very important, as we believe, to the dignity of our calling, and to the spiritual welfare of the souls committed to our care. Before we venture to make known our humble requests, we bear our public and solemn testimony, and call on God the Omniscient, the searcher of the heart, to whom the night is clear as the day; and on Jesus Christ, the holy Founder of our Church, who will guide and protect it to the end of days; and on the Holy Ghost, the Spirit of Truth, who searcheth all things, and witnesses that neither the love of innovation, nor the desire of man's praise, nor private interests, nor selfish considerations; but zeal for the prosperity of our Church,
the immortal interests of those we are to conduct to a better world, the deep convictions of our own hearts, and the loud voice of conscience, move us to lay before you the following, in a plain and simple narration, for your examination and judgement. May God condemn us if our intentions be not upright-if our lips speak not with sanctity from the abundance of the heart." They then enter into some considerations on the state of the Roman Catholic Church in Germany, confessing that the existing abuses have forced not only individuals, but whole parishes, to separate themselves from their communion, and that a desire to prevent such fearful schism has forced many Priests to lay aside the Latin language in the worship of God, and following the example of the reformed Churches, to introduce German Hymns and Psalms for the congregation to sing in different parts of the mass, as they justly complained of a service, in which the Priest alone addressed his prayers to the throne of mercy. They add, that though their Bishops had never prohibited their alterations in their worship, they are not satisfied to enjoy this Reformation as it were, by stealth, and therefore request the Prince Bishop of Breslau, to exert himself to procure a public recognition of these proceedings by the other Prelates of Germany. That much, besides, needs amendment; for instance, in the early Church, (here authorities are given) the Lord's Supper was never celebrated, excepting when the faithful communicated with the Priest,-that this practice should again be strictly observed in their congregations. That many alterations have been made in the old ritual, and numerous superstitious ceremonies added,-that these should be abolished, and the primitive simplicity restored. That frequent preaching should be required from all Pastors. Nothing is said in this memorial of the celibacy of the Clergy, or on the discipline and government of the