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THE year now closing will be memorable in the history of our country and of the world. Strange events come rushing by us, and others stranger still seem close at hand. Volcanoes roar, the earth trembles, and cities are engulfed. Light and darkness are blended, clouds portentous cross our sky, and nations grow pale. Yet the star of hope is in the ascendant, and better days are coming. For the heavens do rule, and from seeming evil Providence is still educing good. At home a Tory government, rejecting a wise and equitable reform, precipitates a democratic experiment which necessitates national education and expedites the moral elevation of the masses. The thunders of war reverberate among the romantic glades of Abyssinia, but they speedily die away, and leave behind a tranquil atmosphere in which the peaceful arts may flourish, and the fruits of freedom, intelligence, and religion may grow. France has scarcely closed her fairy scene, where nations gathered and fraternized, ere the mutterings of war are heard, and swords are sharpened for the conflict; but wiser counsels prevail, and the half-drawn sabre is returned to its scabbard; and there may it ever rest and rust. Pio Nono proclaims a pompous decree for an Ecumenical gathering of ecclesiastical dignitaries, that the mouldy walls of Rome may freshen at their presence, and the decaying glories of Popery may bloom again; but ere the mitred magnates come new dangers threaten their strongholds. Austria breaks through her concordat, Spain burns it to ashes in the centre of her metropolis, and the eldest royal daughter of the Church finds herself a helpless exile in a foreign land. The Bourbon dynasty is no more; religious liberty rises from her tomb; Bibles flood the land which bigotry had sealed, and Protestant missionaries preach the truth where the Inquisition once racked their limbs. The old hooded snake is smitten on the head, and writhes in mortal agony; his doom is fixed.
What next? Amid commotions which shake a continent can we remain unmoved? Have not the internal throes which desolated cities in America vibrated along our own shores? And is not the
spirit that awakens Spain to freedom working changes nearer home? The day of visitation for the Irish Church is come, and for her sister Church it may be drawing near. Yet if it be a day of vengeance, may it not also be of redemption? If poverty bring purity, if humiliation bring freedom, and adversity inaugurate activity and enterprise, the Church will be an immense gainer by the change. Less like the world, she will be more like the Kingdom of Christ, and with less pomp and state she will be richer in the treasures of grace and salvation.
But why advert to these things in a preface? Because they are chronicled in our pages, and give a complexion to our work. And because, too, they speak to us lessons of instruction, admonition, and encouragement; they bid us guard against incipient evils which have ripened to the destruction of others. We must adjust our position as a Denomination to the exigencies of the age, and ply our powers of action to the requirements of the times we live in ; and by so doing we have everything to hope for, and nothing to fear. To promote this has been our aim in the past, and will be our endeavour in the brief future, and we cordially and earnestly call all the lovers of our Zion to our help. Farewell.
Theology and General Literature.
AN APPEAL TO BRITISH PROTESTANTS: SHALL POPERY AGAIN PREDOMINATE IN ENGLAND?
BY WILLIAM COOKE, D.D.
"O England! England! repent thee of thy sins. Beware of idolatry; beware of Antichrist. Take heed they do not deceive you."-The dying words of the martyr Bradford.
GOD hath not dealt so with any nation as he hath with Britain. When Julius Cæsar invaded our shores, little did he imagine that the barbaric race which opposed his legions was destined to outvie his own great nation in its mighty achievements and in the glory of its history. We look back on our humble ancestry, we contemplate the struggles of nineteen centuries, we contrast the present with the past, and we gratefully exclaim, "What hath God wrought!" God hath given us the precious boon of civil and religious liberty, and the still more precious gift of a pure Christianity. To these he has added colonial possessions in every clime, a commerce wide as the world, annually augmenting our wealth, and bringing us the comforts and luxuries of all countries. The prestige of our history, the variety and extent of our literature, and the vastness of our material resources, render the name of Britain everywhere a power, and give us influence that vibrates through all nations. From the era of the Reformation, our progress, in every element of national greatness, and our means of usefulness to the world, have been wonderfully advanced, and the finger of Providence visibly points to Great Britain as designed and qualified to be the most powerful and honoured agent in the conversion of the world. This high destiny may, and assuredly will, be fulfilled if we are faithful; but there is one great source of danger, which cannot but cause serious apprehensions in all thoughtful minds, and that is the leaning towards Popery which has become a characteristic of the age. It is not Popery within the Church of Rome, as an external organization, that excites our alarm; for as an outside foe we could defy all her craft and all her
power; but it is the bastard Popery within the Protestant churches of this land, and the favour extended to Popery by our legislators, that awaken our anxiety.
1. That honest hatred of Popery-not of Papists, for them we are bound to love as our fellow-men-but that religious abhorrence of Popery itself, which our high-souled forefathers cherished, and felt to be a duty to cherish against it, as a system of iniquity, as a foul corruption of Christianity, insulting to Christ and destructive to man's highest interests in both worlds, has been gradually dying out in this country for more than thirty years. Men now speak of Popery as harmless, because changed. But the change is not in Popery, it is in ourselves. In what does Popery differ now from what it was in the darkest ages? Has the Church of Rome, amid the light of the nineteenth century, renounced one of her superstitions? Not one. She has added to them the folly of winking statues, the Virgin's milk, and other pretended miracles. Has she removed from her creed any of its absurdities and contradictions? Not one. She retains them all, and has lately added to them the silly dogma of the immaculate conception of the Virgin by her mother. Has she put away any of her idolatries? Not one. She has added to the long list of her intercessors and mediators, and cherishes the same devotion to her statues and relics as she did in the Middle Ages. Has she ceased to traffic in indulgences and sell pardons for money ? Nay, she still fills her coffers with the price of souls. Has she abrogated her power to depose monarchs and release subjects from their allegiance? Look into her constitution and her canon law, and you will find that power still unrepealed. Look into the interpretation of her laws as given by her official authorities at Maynooth, and you will see the same power admitted virtually to exist; nay more, it is unblushingly avowed in the most offensive terms by her advocates, who tell us plainly that the "authority of Queen Victoria is as nothing compared with that of the Vicar of Christ," that they would rather see "the Queen deposed than their loyalty to the Pope should be tarnished;" and as for the Act of Parliament which upholds the Queen's authority against the Pope, "it is a lie; it will be spit upon, trampled under foot, and rigorously disobeyed."* Has the Church of Rome repealed any of her persecuting and bloody statutes? Not one. The galleys are still the legal penalty for reading the Bible, and death the unrepealed sentence against those who dare to obey the dictates of conscience in opposition to Rome. Has she in this age of liberty ceased to inflict her penalties and become more mild and tolerant in spirit? Less sanguinary in her deeds than formerly she is, because restrained by civil governments around her. Her policy
* Quoted from the Tablet and the Catholic Vindicator.