« AnteriorContinuar »
to Roman Catholics, the opposers of full extent, there would scarcely be a their claims neither say, nor imagine possibility of supposing a breach of the that the benches of Parliament would Second Commandment. he filled by members of that church. The blindest worshippers of the old Their numbers would perhaps be as heathen divinities probably imagined few as their advocates have stated, that there was a sort of real presence who plead their probable paucity as a of that great power which governs the sufficient reason for denying every ap- world, inherent in the stone, the meprehension of danger ; but we may tal, or the wood—the elements of the surely expect that the same zeal which image of the god before which they actuated the last of the Stuarts, would bowed the knee. You assure us that urge some of these new senators to at- they only perform idolatrous adoration tempt the introduction of measures, to the substances composing the Euwhich, though they might not succeed, charist, who have no belief in the dia would at least inflame the public mind, vine transformation. This is at least disturb the national counsels, and grie a very curious position. I will not vously impede the business of the dwell upon it, being desirous of avoidState. It is to repress such useless ing the use of terms which might give animosities, not to oppress the Roman offence to our fellow Christians, howCatholics, that the doors of Parliament ever their faith and worship may differ are, and ought to be shut against them. from our own; to them I would will
You assert, my Lord, that there is no ingly display the full extent of that law excluding Roman Catholics from charity which is the essence of ChrisParliament; they are only required to tianity, provided always that they may make certain declarations, which are be effectually prevented from driving known to be contradictory to their us into what they think the only right faith; and you ask, if the Catholics may path to heaven. be absolved from their oaths, as their The desire of using violent means to adversaries have asserted, how happens bring stray sheep into the true fold nait they are not in Parliament ? turally follows that belief. I must
To this I answer, that the law, en- again return to this point of my arguforcing these declarations, does thereby ment, because it appears to be an irreexpressly intend to exclude them; and fragable reason for excluding the Caalthough there is no difficulty in ad- tholics from power in a Protestant ducing instances of Popes arrogating country, and because this desire ne to themselves the power of absolving cessarily carries with it a strong wish men from these solemn obligations, it to possess the means of gratification. cannot be supposed that such an ex- Can we see the records of those horri. ertion of pontifical power is of every- ble means of compulsion, by which res day occurrence. Roman Catholic gen- clamation has been attempted, which tlemen have the same sense of honour form the darkest blots on the page of which regulates the conduct of others modern history ? Can we notice the -- there is no fear of their practising systematic breach of faith with hereso scandalous a fraud ; but even if tics? I mean not in the ordinary conwe could imagine them less scrupu- cerns of life, but in transactions belous, they must be aware that it could tween the persecutors and their vicnot be concealed ; they would there- tims. Can we read in the writings of by forfeit all pretensions to credit Roman Catholic teachers of high repuand character, and other means would tation encouragement given in plain be soon taken for the exclusion of per- terms to the deposition and murder of sons who had thus added to their legal heretic sovereigns, without forming disability a total want of all honest the firmest resolution to do every thing principle.
in our power to shut out for ever the Your lordship’s distinctions on the professors of that religion from the subject of idolatry are somewhat nice. possibility of doing mischief in the land If your arguments are admitted in their of civil and religious liberty. *
* That these may not be called vague imputations, without naming any particular author, I desire to refer to the writings of St Thomas Acquinas, dignified by his Roman Catholic admirers with the title of the Angelic Doctor, or the Angel of the Schools. This one example would sufficiently prove the accusation ; but I would also particularise, among several others, Gerson, Chancellor of the University of Paris, and Petit the Cordelian, who caried the doctrine still farther than the Angelic Doctor. .
I am far from accusing the English proofs of the genius of Catholicism, Catholics of holding such doctrines, or and of the regard in which the assemof wishing to return to that persecuting bled pastors and masters of that church system, which was here at its height held promises made to persons whom in the reign of Queen Mary. How far they called heretics. Has there ever these notions may be still relished by been any formal renunciation of this more. bigotted religionists of other doctrine? Or has any censure been countries, I will not take on myself to pronounced against these barbarous determine. The conduct of some of proceedings, by any Council, Pope, or the French emigrants in the South of other functionary empowered to proFrance, who recently returned with mulgate the opinions of the Roman their King, a sovereign of too mild a Catholic Church? If there has not character to encourage such outrages, if the Vice-gerent of Christ upon earth, does not afford the most favourable as he is designated, has not plainly retestimony of the Roman Catholic spirit probated these atrocities, it is fairly to in the present times. Experience teaches be inferred that the proceedings of the us that what has happened, may, in Council of Constance continue to be the course of events, happen again. approved by the ruling powers of that Not only may time effect an alteration church even to this day, however huin the minds and manners of men, mane individuals may detest in their bringing then back to long forgotten hearts, and even declare publicly that habits -- but the same individuals, pla- persecution is contrary to the princiced in a different situation and circum- ples of Catholicity. The publicthanksstances, acquire new modes of think- givings offered up by Gregory the ing, feeling, and acting. " Is thy ser- Thirteenth, with all his Cardinals in vant a dog, that he should do these his train, for the successful performthings?” cried Jehu to the prophet, ance of a more extensive scene of who foretold to him the bloody deeds blood, I mean the Massacre of St Barhe was speedily destined to perform. tholomew, in France, which that Pope The exclamation was natural and sin- himself instigated, clearly shew the cere; his heart revolted at the picture opinion of the head of the Roman Cathus presented before his eyes ; but no tholic Church, at the subsequent pesooner was he placed within the dan- riod of a century and a half. It is nagerous reach of power, than his actions tural, indeed, that a church which fully justified. the prediction. The boasts of infallibility, should be exEnglish Catholic may be truly averse tremely averse to acknowledge any erto deeds of cruelty. I believe the long ror, either in faith or practice. Their local approximation to Protestantism tenets, they assure us, are the same as has unconsciously infused a tincture they were in the beginning, are now, of more tolerant principles; but if he and ever shall be. They have, howis sincere in his faith, he must wish for ever, a convenient way of its ascendancy, and consequently for pressed hardly on points which are too the downfall of the Protestant Ésta- strong to be denied. Discipline," blishment. It must be remembered, say the Roman Catholic Divines,“ may too, that in the dreadful massacre of vary, but our doctrinal articles of faith the Protestants in Ireland, in the time are immutable." Let them avail themof Charles the First, the English Ca- selyes of all the advantages of this distholics of the Pale, as they were called, tinction; but let us take care that their who were settled in that island, at discipline, whether old or new,
be nefirst expressed disgust and horror at ver forced on that freedom, which is the barbarities committed by their the birth-right of the emancipated Irish brethren ; but example, and the members of our National Church; to exhortations of their Priests, soon in- secure which, we can use no better fected them with the same religious means than to guard with the utmost mania, and they rivalled the natives caution, all access to political power. in all their deeds of violence and cruel. In treating this subject, I am desity.
rous, as much as possible, to avoid The fate of John Huss,'burnt alive touching on the affairs of Ireland, beby the sentence of the Council of Con- cause the state of religion, in that stance, notwithstanding the pledge of country, is so much blended with posafety granted him, under the word of litical considerations, that I should the Emperor, is one of the clearest enter upon too wide a field. I must,
however, be permitted to notice a nually offended by the display of an broad assertion in the text of your let- indefinite number of sects, exhibiting ter, that “ Catholic emancipation was all the absurd fancies which the licen the price held out to the people, for tious caprice of unguided intellect is bartering the independence and exist- capable of forming-each, with indisence of their country.” This is indeed creet zeal, contending for mastery. qualified, or rather contradicted in a The religious field, left to itself, would note ; but as hasty readers are in the bear an exact resemblance to that of habit of passing over these appendages, naturethe diminutive type of which does not much attract their observation, I will
subit aspera sylva take leave to say, that the writer of
Lappæque tribulique, interque nitentia
culta these Remarks remembers the debate
Infelix Yoliam, et steriles dominantur in the British House of Commons, in which the late Mr Grattan first exerted his eloquence on that arena, in It is surely sufficient indulgence, that behalf of the Catholics. On that oc- mer. may be allowed, within their own casion, Mr Pitt most distinctly denied precincts, to cherish the thistles and that any such promise had been made; the darnel, provided the seeds are not nor did Mr Grattan, or any other per- wilfully wafted into their neighbour's son, offer a word of contradiction; on grounds. Let them foster the imagithe contrary, it was admitted by other nations of their hearts, if they will be members, who spoke on the same side contented to do so quietly, and withthe question.
out offence; but to counterbalance The union with Ireland, however these aberrations, let the religion it may be represented by those who which the State approves, abstaining cannot be called friends to either of from the odious means of restraining the sister islands, was a benefit of a them by persecution, possess all the substantive nature. In Scotland, many advantages of dignity and emolument, voices were raised to as high a pitch and let those who profess it enjoy all against the measure which united her those offices, which lead to political to England, in the reign of Queen power. Anne; but the advantages obtained
The Golden Rule of Pythagoras, by our northern fellow-subjects, have which enjoins the worship of the gods, long silenced the unmeaning clamour « ώς νόμω διακείται,” as by law establishof the loss of independence. There ed, is a very good general maxim. is no doubt but Ireland will gradually Every rule has its exception; and become as well reconciled.—But to re- wherever a legal mode of worship shall turn to the points from whence I have be proved to be founded on wrong digressed, which are more immediate- principles, or to contain absurd artily the object of this discussion. cles of faith ; when flagrant abuses
Your Lordship is an enemy to tests, have perverted the best institutions, and to all restrictions made on religi- so as to render them injurious to the ous belief. It might certainly sound welfare of mankind ;-then is the time better in the ear of a theoretical cos- for conversion, or for reformation. mopolite to announce, that the doors Such changes have, and will infalof the British Parliament were thrown libly take place, at similar periods of open to Jews, Mahometans, and Hin- human affairs. As to the Atheist, doos, as well as to every sect and de- who, according to your Lordship's nomination of Christians. Some of supposition, has a chance of being the wisest men in this country, how- admitted to those advantages from ever, have been of opinion, that an whence the Roman Catholic is debarestablished religion is a great public red, I acknowledge that a man, who benefit. Without this, we might have is conscious of no state of retribution very little religion at all. To destroy hereafter, ought, if possible, to be entirely this divine plant, which is na- prevented from having any sway over turally rooted in the human mind, the conduct of mankind here. But would be impossible ; but the innus the unbelief in the existence of a Deimerable weeds which would spring ty is so contrary to the general feelup in the soil for want of cultivation, ings of men, that it is difficult to inawould choke its growth, and even in- gine many Atheists ever to have exjure its nature. We should be contin isted. It may be truly said, changing
a little the language of the Psalmist; might not be the case with a Roman “ Few fools have said in their heurts Catholic---he certainly would never there is no God, although several have harrow up the feelings of the country declared this opinion with their lips; he was destined to rule, by exhibiting and many have acted as if they thought the spectacle of an Auto da fe.
But if such a man should be I desire to subscribe myself, with found, and if this rara avis should due respect, your Lordship's most obecontrive to take his flight to the sum- dient servant, mit of power, one advantage at least
A PROTESTANT LAYMAN.. would attend his elevation, which February 28, 1822.
[We insert, without hesitation, this communication from a respected and distinguished correspondent. But we expressly decline stating any opinion for ourselves as to this most nice and delicate question. We leave the subject quite open, and we are sure our Correspondent will be as happy as ourselves to see what any intelligent friend of a different way of thinking may judge fit to send us.-C. N.]
STANZAS TO AN OLD FRIEND.
Tandemque nobis exsulibus placent'
Come here's a health to thee and thine ;
Trust me, whate'er we may be told,
When tasted with a friend that's old ;
New pleasures if we may not find,
On sunny prospects left behind. ;
Through gaudy noonday dark and bare,
With purple gleam the evening air;
In times, and scenes, and thoughts gone by,
Bright in Imagination's sky.
With fleeting joy and transient grief ;
O’er many a strange fantastic leaf;
There are some pages written fair,
Preserved, still faintly fragrant there.
Our music shall breathe forth its strain,
And heighten those that yet remain ;
Shall waken many a slumbering thrill,
Of faded joys, remember'd still.
Again, the moments shall she bring
prime, We'll pluck the roses that still spring
Upon the grave of buried time.
Yea, e'en ecstatic are the tears
Roused by the sounds of other years.
Wild pleasure in the voiced roar E'en of the often-dreaded wind,
That wreck'd his every hope before, If there's a pang that lurks beneath
For youth had pangs-oh ! let it rise, 'Tis sweet to feel the poet breathe
The spirit of our former sighs.
In life's first, warm, impassion'd hours,
As summer dews on summer flowers; And as the stream, where'er it hies,
Steals something in its purest flow, Those strains shall taste of ecstacies
O'er which they floated long ago. E'en in our morn, when fancy's eye
Glanced, sparkling o'er a world of bliss, When joy was young, and hope was high,
We could not feel much more than this: Howe'er, then, time our day devours,
Why should our smiles be overcast, Why should we grieve for fleeting hours,
Who find a future in the past.
A Sonnet. To
O'erhung and garlanded with tall beech trees;
As wont upon a clear September eve,
Methought 'twere then impossible to grieve, *.*
I gazed upon the waters on the flowers
And all the joys that then, loved friend, were ours.