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the magnificence of princes—and when her absolute dominion over the persons, property and consciences of men, brought monarchs to supplicate for pardon at the feet of her Pontiffs, and devote their treasures to endow her abbeys, in commutation for their sins—then was the time when it might have been written, "The glory has departed."

Mr. B.—Just when she had the most outward shew, her glory had indeed departed; for what is outward splendour where there is corrupt doctrine and unholiness of life?

Mr. A.—Yes, my friend, the true spiritual glory of the church had passed away; for the few fundamental truths that remained were so obscured and weakened, that the words of the Saviour, first addressed to the Jews, now applied well to her, "Ye have made the commandment of God of none effect by your traditions,"— " In vain do ye worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men."—(St . Matt. xv. 9.)

Mr. B.—I suppose at this time, when Rome was at the height of her ambition, nearly all the nations of Europe owned her as their mistress, and professed obedience to her laws.

Mr. A.—Yes, the degradation was as universal in Christendom as she could desire: you will bear in mind, however, that the Lord had still a church, a hidden few, against whom the "gates of hell could not prevail."

Mr. B.—I trust I shall never forget that God has ever fulfilled that sweet promise ;— but pray go on.

Mr. A.—Things continued in this state in the Church of Rome for a long time, although complaints had been made at various periods by her members, of frequent abuses and extortions practised by the monks and priests, and of their excessive immorality.— At length the sale of indulgences, granted by Pope Leo the 10th, roused the cry of reform. These indulgences were pretended to be drawn from the spiritual treasury of the church, which consisted of the superfluous merits of the saints, who were supposed to have performed more good works than were ueedful for their own use and safety!— Of these superabundant merits, the Church of Rome has always charitably kept a little store, from which she could supply sinners who were deficient, in proportion as they could pay for them.

Mr. B.—Not a very Little store I think would suffice for such a purpose.

Mr. A.—Why no indeed! This Pope Leo issued these indulgences by wholesale; employing preachers throughout all the provinces to extol these blessings, and collect

the money. The price of payment was according to the nature or degree of the sin, and the purchaser might have a full pardon, not only for offences past, but for every sin that he might commit to the end of his life; and release his friends from purgatory also, if he chose to pay for it.

Mr. B.—It seems almost impossible that people could be so senseless as to believe such things.

Mr. A.—We have very strong proof that they did believe them; I mean, their paying immense sums for these indulgences. Like Eve in Paradise, they find it more easy to believe the devil's lie than God's true word. In the year 1517, Tetzel, a monk, was sent into Germany with multitudes of these indulgences, to raise money for Pope Leo. Luther, a monk of the Order of St. Augustine, with many others, strongly protested against them; from this originated the term Protestant, a name given to all who declared against these indulgences. The people once aroused, were led to the examination of the Scriptures; and this led to the Reformation!

Mr. B.—And quite time it did so, I think. Well, I believe many members of the Church of Rome in the present day begin to enquire and examine into things— they think for themselves a little more than they did then.

Mr. A.—Yes, they do so—many are dissatisfied with their church, and perceiving the whole to be a system of worldly policy and priestcraft, turn from it with disgust; but unfortunately, instead of seeking for the Truth, they too frequently reject religion altogether, and fall into a state of indifference, or decided infidelity; whereas, if they would but take the New Testament, and calmly examine its sublime and elevating doctrines, comparing them carefully with the errors from which they have turned with so much aversion, they would soon be enabled to distinguish the gold from the dross—the wheat from the chart

Mr. B.—I have felt convinced as our examination has proceeded, that the Church of Rome does not teach the doctrines of Scripture, and therefore my next step shall be to leave her communion entirely, and go where the doctrines taught by Christ and his apostles are preached, that I may obtain farther knowledge of them. What can excuse a man for acting against his better judgment and conviction, as I should do, were I to continue a member of this church now I am convinced she has erred from the truth 1 I remember you cautioned me to look well to the foundation I was building upon—I see now that it was on the sand—my having been baptised in the Church of Rome could never have saved me j nor do I suppose we shall be saved merely because we have been baptised, though in any other church—what is your opinion 1

Mr. A.—You are perfectly right; we are not saved by baptism, but by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. "He that believeth and is baptised, shall be saved;" these were the words of the Saviour. By this believing, we are not to understand a mere assent to the facts related in the Gospel concerning Christ; but a living faith, which is the work of the Holy Spirit, regenerating and changing the heart: therefore the Redeemer said, "Unless a man be born again, he cannot enter the kingdom of heaven." This new heart is mentioned and promised in the Old Testament (Ezekiel xxxvi. 26, 27). "If any man be in Christ, (said the Apostle Paul, when speaking of this change,) he is a new creature."

Mr. B.—It seems then that the new creature is the fit subject for baptism; believing comes first and then baptism.

Mr. A.—Baptising with water does not make people believe certainly; but in the first days of the Christian Church, so much persecution and suffering attended the profession of the Gospel, that there was little danger of any coining forward for baptism unless they had really experienced this change, or conversion of heart; then they desired to be baptised, being willing to suffer the loss of all things for Christ. But we have one instance given which plainly shews that baptism and regeneration are not neceslarily connected: this is the case of Simon Magus, recorded in the 8th chapter of the Acts. Simon we see had been baptised, but it proved, as the Apostle said, that he was itill in the gall of bitterness and the bonds of iniquity; therefore, he had never been regenerated.

Mr. B.—It is evident indeed that his baptism had not made him a new creature.

Mr. A.—No; and if such an exception occurred in the time of the Apostles, how much more frequent it must have been when worldly advantages were to be gained by the profession of Christianity. Now the Church of Rome in her doctrine teaches that baptism is regeneration; and the evil of this is, that it sets aside the practical use of the truth so emphatically declared by the Saviour, which is farther explained and repeated hy Him—" Verily, verily, I say unto you, unless a man be born of water and the Spirit he cannot see the kingdom of God" (John ■ii.); for if men are taught that they are

regenerated at baptism, there is a danger that they will rest satisfied that all is well, and therefore seek no farther. (To be continued.)

WHAT ARE THE OBJECTS OF THE

PROTESTANT OPERATIVE

ASSOCIATIONS?

The answer to this question is involved in the following passage, taken from "the first part of the Homily on the Peril of Idolatry," and which is only one of many like passages. via.—

"It is written in the Book of Numbers, the 23rd chapter, that 'there was no idol in Jacob, nor any image seen in Israel, and that the Lord God was with his people;' where note, that the true Israelites, that is the people of God, have no images among them, and that therefore their enemies cannot hurt them, as appears in the process of that chapter. And as concerning images already set up, thus saith the Lord, in Deuteronomy, 'overturn their altars and break them to pieces, cut down their groves, burn their images, for thou art a holy people unto the Lord."—(Deut. vii. 12.) Here note what the people of God ought to do to images when they find them. But lest any private persons upon colour of destroying images, should make any stir or disturbance in the commonwealth, it must always be remembered, that the redress of such public enormities belongeth to the magistrate and such as be in authority only, and not to private persons, and therefore the good kings of Judah, Asa, Hezekiah, Jehosophat, and Josias, are highly commended for breaking down and destroying of the altars, idols, and images—1 Kings xv., 2 Chron. xiv., xv., xxxi., and the Scriptures declare that they specially in that point did that which was right before the Lord. And contrariwise, Jeroboam, Achab, Joas, and other princes, which either set up or suffered such altars or images undestroyed, are by the word of God reported to have done evil before the Lord."

1. This passage, which, it will be remembered, was spoken as applicable to the case of Popery, shows that the reformation of a false religion is a function of the State.

2. We know that it was held as such in the British dominions till lately; that Scripture was held as the rule of the national conduct.

3. We know that this function of the State is now partially renounced, and that so far

[merged small][merged small][merged small][graphic]

[The Pope and his Librarian examining the books in the Library of the Vatican.]

Pope.—What bulky book is this in so many volumes 1—Heresy no doubt!—These heretics have tongues always at work, and pens as busy as their tongues—none but a heretic could write so vast a work.

Librarian.—Please your Holiness, this is the Bible.

Pope.—The Bible!—Ho, I have heard I think of that book. If I mistake not, it has done more mischief than enough to the holy Roman States and the Chair of St. Peter.— We will examine it though, and give it, in our condescension and clemency, a fair hearing.—How many volumes are there?

Libr.—Seventy-seven, your Holiness.

Pope.—Seventy-seven !—a most suspicious number; no number savours so strongly of heretical pravity. We will examine them one by one.

Libr.—The first is called Genesis, your Holiness.

Pope.—It is right to begin at the beginning.—A name savouring strongly of heresy —open it, however, and let me see what it contains.—To touch it with our pontifical fingers would be to defile the hand which dispenses blessings to the faithful.

Libr.—Your Holiness has the book open at the 15th chapter.

Pope.—What do I see—" He believed in the Lord, and he counted it to him for righteousness."—{Genesis xv. 6.) Why this is rank heresy. Away with it to the flames —away with it! The arch-heretic Luther could not have more broadly stated that never sufficiently to be detested Lutheran doctrine of justification by faith. Away with it to the flames !—What is the next?

Libr.—The second, your Holiness, is called Exodus.

Pope.—Exodus—Faugh !—no better than his brother, I'll warrant. The name is suspicious.

Libr.—Your Holiness has the book open at the 20th chapter.

Pope.—What heresy is here! — this is worse than the former—" Thou shall not make unto thee any graven image.... thou shall not bow down thyself to them." This is heresy indeed. Every body knows that the Holy See has long ago decreed, and councils ratified the same, that the faithful are everywhere to do homage and pay reverence and worship to the holy images. Away with the book to the flames.

Libr.—The third book is called Leviticus. I open it at chapter 4th.

Pope.—Why every book is tainted with Lutheranism. Here I read—" If any one of the common people sin through ignorance, and be guilty," blood is to be shed to atone for his sin {Lev. iv. 30). I flatter myself every Catholic child could set this arrogant writer right. Sins of ignorance require no atonement, as we all know well, according to the infallible decisions of the church.

Libr.—The fourth volume is called Numbers. You have chapter 35th.

Pope.—Hey-day! what do I read in verse 32—" Ye shall take no satisfaction for the life of a murderer, which is guilty of death; and he shall be surely put to death," St . Peter's exchequer would have run dry long ago if our venerated predecessors had acted thus. No, no, everybody knows that the plenitude of our indulgences is such as to be omnipotent. Many a murderer has been most religiously reconciled to the Holy Roman Church, upon the payment of a due sum to our coffers and the performance of due penance.—Away with the book to the flames!

Libr.—You have now the fifth volume, called Deuteronomy. I open it at chapter 4th.

Pope.—Here is rank heresy again. In verse 2 I find, "Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you." Now, every good Catholic knows that our predecessors, who have so worthily filled the chair of St. Peter, have held the exact contrary, and acted upon their feelings; adding many commands, and softening down many things which appeared to their infallible judgments too harsh and grating. How could the Christian commonwealth be governed if we had not the power of making new commandments '( The thing is preposterous.—Away with the book!

Libr.—You have now the sixth volume, called Joshua; and the 9th chapter is open before your Holiness.

Pope.—Oh, horrid heresy!—Here I find it declared (verses 34, 35) that Joshua read every word of the book of the law to all the

children of Israel. This is evidently an heretical statement. Every body knows that the Holy See has expressly declared that to read the word of God indiscriminately to all people will do more harm than good. Besides Joshua was no priest.—Away with itl

(To be continued.)

CORRESPONDENCE.

PROTESTANT TRACT SOCIETIES.

58, Gt. James-st. Lisson-grove, January 16th, 1843.

Dear Sir,

Will you allow me to suggest the propriety of the speedy formation of Protestant Tract Societies, as auxiliaries to the Protestant Operative Associations, throughout the metropolis, and in every part of the country? The importance of the regular and constant distribution of sound Protestant tracts, at such a crisis as this, cannot be a matter of question or doubt.

The opponents of truth are using the powerful agency of the press with very much success; and it surely becomes the imperative duty of Christians to employ the same means, to the same extent, knowing that God will bless such efforts, if made in his strength, with corresponding success.

The plan I propose is a very simple one: it is this—Let a few persons form themselves into a committee, who shall be managers of the society, distributors of tracts, and collectors of funds; every member of the several associations to be considered tract distributors within their respective circles of influence; changing the tracts weekly or fortnightly, as may be arranged. The funds required will not be large, if all contribute. Fix the sum at Id. per week, or 4s. annually. Donations, however small, of money or tracts, can be solicited from others who are unconnected with the association—for to such an employment there cannot be any objection raised.

The society may be distinct, but not separate from the association; and if 200 persons will act as distributors, and they having an opportunity of distributing ten tracts^each weekly, we have at once the large number of 2,000 persons informed of the errors of Popery, and fortified against its introduction among themselves, with scarcely any great effort. Among these persons there may be found those who would willingly help in this good work, and so the number of readers and distributors of tracts quickly be augmented.

I might enlarge much upon the good likely to arise from such efforts; but from what I have so briefly stated, enough I trust has been said to induce our Protestant friends to begin this aggressive but certain movement against error of every kind. One has just been formed in Marylebone; and I will, if you think it worth notice, send you the rules—observing at the same time that I should be most happy to assist, by advice or attendance, the. formation of kindred societies.

I remain, dear Sir,

Very truly yours,

R. H. Binden. To the Editor of

the Protestant Operative.

CABINET.

Believe it, be persuaded of it, be convinced of it, that thou must be broken if ever thou wouldest have Jesus Christ to bind thee up j thou must be sick of sin, if ever thou wouldest have Jesus Christ to heal thee; thou must be dejected and cast down, if ever thou wouldest have Jesus Christ to comfort thee.

IRELAND.

From the Evangelical Mag. for Decemher, 1842.

tET US PRAT FOR POOR IRELAND.

It has been remarked by a valuable writer • on the Roman Catholic errors, that the great battle between Popery and Protestantism is yet to be fought, and that Ireland is the place where this grand struggle will be carried on and brought to an issue. Romish tradition represents Ireland as of immense importance; averring on the authority of one, St. Lacerianus, that whenever the Holy (Roman) Catholic Church falls there, she falls throughout the world! f

One of the most extraordinary signs of the extraordinary times in which we live is, that Ireland is so little thought of, so little pitied by British Christians: seven millions of the votaries of the "Man of Sin" ignorant of the way of salvation, within a few hours' steam conveyance of our own shores, and no one caring for their souls. j

Yours in the Gospel,

C. G. T.

* M'Gavin, the author of "The Protestant."

t Mentioned by Middleton in his Evangelical Biography.

J 2nd Thessalonians, ii.

POETRY.

POPERY DESCRIBED BY COWPER.

Hast thou admitted with a blind, fond trust,

The lie that burn'd thy Father's bones to dust ?—

That first adjudg'd them heretics, then sent

Their souls to heaven, and curst them as they went;

The lie that Scripture strips of its disguise,

And execrates above all other lies;—

The lie that claps a lock on mercy's plan,

And gives the key to yon infirm old man,

Who, once enscons'd in Apostolic chair,

Is deified, and sits omniscient there;—

The lie that knows no kindred, owns no friend,

But him that makes its progress his chief end ;—

That having spilt much blood, makes that a boast,

And canonizes him that sheds the most.

Away with charity that soothes a lie,

And thrusts the truth with scorn and anger by;—

Shame on the candour and the gracious smile

Bestow'd on them that light the Martyr's pile;

While insolent disdain, in frowns express'd,

Attends the tenets that endur'd that test.

Grant them the rights of men, and while they cease

To vex the peace of others, give them peace;

But trusting bigots, whose false zeal has made

Treachery their duty, thou art self-betray'd.

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