Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

with all faithful diligence, to banish and drive away all erroneous doctrine. The venerable Clergy of our Establishment, like their ancestors of old, must be found in the first lines of the hottest battle, contending for that pure and reformed religion, which has been for ages the glory of England, the pride of our Church, and a blessing to the whole Christian world.

We now come to consider the several devices of our old and inveterate foe, to overturn the Protestant Church. The pages of sacred history record those unchristian councils on whose authority the church of Rome rests her confidence and strength. Summoning to her aid the spirits of the darker ages, fiction and fable ; encircling herself within the magic ring of lying wonders ; deeply intrenched in the Papal formulary of Pius the Fourth, and fortifying herself, as with a mighty bulwark, by the edicts of the tridentine fiat-she goes forth in her fancied strength, to bring into obedience every thought and imagination which opposeth itself to her authority, that she may again sit enthroned, as in the ages of

• If the creed of Pius the Fourth can be seriously believed, it may again be cruelly acted upon, if power was again given to its votaries to do so-it is still the faith of the church of Rome-we must infer, 66 that the church of Rome has not partaken of the supposed illumination of the age we live in."— Townsend's Accusations of History.

mental slavery and darkness, queen of all the churches. Every plan and effort to arrest her progress she treats with self-confident contempt, and laughs at the parade of missionary labours, reformation societies, and all the bustle of circulating prayer books, homilies, and bibles. The distribution of these sacred volumes of our faith, she compares to poisoned bread given by a master to his household. e

For the mighty work of reducing this Protestant nation to the Popish faith and yoke, the Romanists have enlisted into their service men of divers talents, parties, and occupations ; choice spirits, whose name may not improperly be called “ Legion, for they are many." The eye of observance, that marks passing events, has noticed,

d Who can read the old legendary tales of the Romish church, and the modern lying wonders of Hohenloe, and others, and not call to mind one of the prophetic marks of the man of sin—" Even him whose coming is after the working of Satan, with all power, and signs, and lying wonders, and with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish.”—2 Thess. ii. 9, 10.

• The acrimonious spirit with which a Romanist, in the Town-hall at Leicester, uttered this sentiment, the false, insidious allusion he made to tithes, and the stern aspect he assumed, struck the mind with an awful reminiscence of former times.

for several years past, a powerful body of mercenaries marching in the train of their political camp; the demagogues of turbulence, the demons of falsehood, and the fiends of delusion, proceeding, as pioneers, to smooth and prepare their way. To persons unacquainted with the temper of the Romish hierarchy, the nature of the books they are distributing, and the various modes in which they are secretly, though effectually, carrying on their aggressions against the Church of England, these expressions may appear harsh, and unbecoming the pulpit. And though we are not always justified in answering a fool in his folly, yet necessity may sometimes compel us, in selfdefence, to retort with asperity upon a calumniating foe. The false colouring which Popish writers give to history the lying statements, and insidious versions, which their partizans publish of the Reformation-and the wilful and malicious misrepresentations spread abroad respecting our Protestant Constitution-more than warrant the lauguage of indignation and reprobation. Let our words be ascribed to their proper motive, as not originating in malevolence towards any person, but proceeding from a desire of vindicating truth, and defending honesty. It would not, indeed, be just to the pious memory of those, to whom we

! See Cobbett's Account of the Reformation, and Lingard's History of England.

stand indebted for the spiritual blessings we still enjoy, not to repel unjust insinuations against their characters--not to speak with severe animadversion on the idle stories raked up from the sink of old Romish calumnies, circulated among the vulgar and illiterate, who are ever fond of novelty, and with whom it is no difficult matter " to make the worse appear the better cause." Whatever may tend to put a stigma on our Church, and depreciate her in the estimation of the people, is studiously sought after, and circulated with the greatest avidity. The wily Romanist well knows the power and effect of satiric raillery. Erroneous tenets, or absurd notions, held by the early Reformers, are artfully and designedly palmed upon us as grounds of accusation and censure. If, indeed, the Reformers were subject to errors, and some of them of an intolerant spirit, they brought these blemishes with them from the Romish church ;—they had great obstacles to surmount, and much difficulty to extrịcate themselves from a superstition which, ac- : cumulating from age to age, had, at length, condensed itself into an impervious atmosphere of clouds and darkness. But what is all this to the Church of England ? What have we to do with the early reveries of the pious Luther, or the horribile decretum of the learned and venerable Calvin ? Our Church steers her vessel, in a safe

and prudent course, amid the dangerous shoals and rocks of theology; guarding her children against perilous interpretations of Scripture, and imaginary schemes of salvation.

Scurrilous titles and appellations have been not less sparingly affixed to the name of our Church, than false charges exhibited against her doctrines. She is contemptuously called, " The Church of Henry the Eighth, "-" The Law Church.” These terms are bandied about by the emissaries of Rome, whose design is sufficiently obvious-To lower, in the minds of our people, the value and importance of the Reformation, and to conceal from their view the real ground of its separation from the church of Rome.

To Henry the Eighth, the staunch defender of the Popish faith, we stand indebted for no favour. A domestic feud-a contest for supremacy between a worthy son and an equally worthy mother-proved, indeed, under the overruling providence of God, an eventual benefit to the Protestant Church. " But the tyrant meant not so, neither did his heart think so; but it was in his heart to cut off Protestants not a few.” From this parent stock of blood, of lust, and Popery, sprung a righteous branch, the English Josiah, our Sixth Edward, a nursing father of the reformed religion---the brightest ornament of the age in which he lived. With his untimely death,

« ZurückWeiter »