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to tradition in the disputes concerning the office of bishop, the nature of which is in the New Testament left somewhat dubious.
P. 176. Much of the preceding argument, and this conclusion, is founded upon the following passage in the second paper found in King Charles's strong box. “ It is a sad thing to consider what a world of heresies are crept iuto this nation. Every man thinks himself as competent a judge of the scriptures as the very apostles themselves; and 'tis no wonder that it should be so, since that part of the nation which looks most like a church, dares not bring the true arguments against the other sects, for tear they should be turned against themselves, and confuted by their own arguments. The church of England, as 'tis called, would fain have it thought, that they are the judges in matters spiritual, and yet dare not positively say, that there is no appeal from them; for either they must say, that they are infallible, which they cannot pretend to, or confess, that what they decide in matters of conscience is no further to be followed, than as it agrees with every man's private judgment."
To this the divines of England answered, that they indeed as. serted church authority, but without pretending to infallibility; and that while the church decided upon points of faith, she was to be directed and guided by the scriptures, just as the judges of a temporal tribunal are to frame their decisions, not from any innate or infallible authority of their own, but in conformity with the laws of the realm.
To deck the wedding day of his unspotted spouse !-P. 177. In this and the following lines Dryden sets forth his adopted mother-church in all the glowing attributes of majesty and authority. The lines are extremely beautiful, and their policy is obvious, from the following passage in a pretended letter from Father Petre to Father La Chaise. The letter bears every mark indeed of forgery; but it is equally an illustration of Dryden, whether the policy contained in it was attributed by the Protestants to the Catholics as part of their scheme, or was really avowed as
such hy themselves. “ Many Eng ish heretics resort often to our sermons; ind I have often recommended to our fathers to preach now in the beginning as little as they can of the controversy, because that
provokes ; but to represent to them the beauty and antiquity of the Catholic religion, that they may be convinced that all that has been sa:d and preached to them, and their own reflections concerning it, have been all scandal.”-Somers' Tracts, p. 253. The unity of the Catholic church was also chiefly insisted on during the controversy :
One in herself, not rent by schism, but sound,
It seems to have escaped Dryden, that all the various sects which have existed, and do now exist, in the Christian world, may, in some measure, be said to be sparkles shattered from his “ solid diamond ;" since at one time all Christendom belonged to the Roman church. Thus the disunion of the various sects of Protestants is no more an argument against the church of England than it is against the church of Rome, or the Christian faith in general. All communions insist on the same privilege; and when the church of Rome denounced the Protestants as heretics, like Coriolanus going into exile, they returned the sentence against her who gave it. If it is urged, that, notwithstanding these various defections, the Roman church retained the most extended communion, this plea would place the truth of religious opinions upon the hazardous basis of numbers, which Mahometans might plead more successfully than any Christian church, in proportion as their faith is more widely extended. These arguments of the unity and extent of the church are thus expressed in a missionary tract already quoted, where the Plain Man thus addresses his English parson :
“ Either shew me, by more plain and positive texts of scripture than what the Missioner has here brought, that God Almighty has promised to preserve his church from essential errors, such as are idolatry, superstition, &c.; or else shew me a church visible in all ages spread over the face of the whole world, secured from such errors, and at unity in itself. A church, that has had all along kings for nursing fathers, and queens tor nursing inothers; a church, to which all natious bave flowed, and which is authorised to teach them infallibly all those truths which were delivered to the saints without mixtures of error, which destroy sanctity; I say, either shew me, from plain texts of scripture, that Christ's church was not to be my intallible guide; or shew me such a church of Christ as these promises require, distinct from that of the Roman, and from which she has either separated, or been cut off.”
Sell all of Christian to the very name.-P. 179. The author has, a little above, used an argument, much to the honour of the Catholic church-- her unceasing diligence in labouring for the conversion of the heathen ; a task, in which her missionaries have laboured with unwearied assiduity, encountering fatigue, danger, and martyrdom itself, in winning souls to the faith. It has been justly objected, that the spiritual instruction of their converts is but slight and superficial; yet still their missionary zeal forms a strong contrast to the indifference of the reformed churches in this duty. Nothing of the kind has ever been attempted on a great or national scale by the church of England, which gives Catholics room to upbraid her clergy with their unambitious sloth in declining the dignity of becoming bishops in partibus infidelium. The poet goes on to state the scandalous materials with which it has been the universal custom of Britain to supply the population of her colonies; the very dregs and outcasts of humanity being the only recruits whom she destmes lo establish the future marts for her commodities. The success of such missionaries among the savage tribes, who have the misfortune to be placed in their vicinity, may be easily guessed :
Deliberate and undeceived,
And gave them back their own. Wordsworth. On the other hand, the care of the Catholic missionaries was by no means limited to the spiritual concerns of those heathen among whom they laboured : they extended them to their temporal concerns, and sometimes unfortunately occasioned grievous civil dissensions, and much bloodshed. Something of this kind took place in Japan; where the Christians, having raised a rebellion against the heathens, (for the beaten party, as Dryden says, are always rebels to the victors,) were exterminated, root and branch. This excited such an uiter hatred of Catholic priests, and their religion, that they were prohibited, under the deepest denunciations of death and confiscation, from landing in Japan. Nevertheless, the severity of this law did not prevent the Hollanders from sharing in the gainful traffic of the island, which they gained permission to do, by declaring, that they were not Christians, (only meaning, we hope, that they were not Catholics,) but Dutchmen; and it was currently believed, that, in corroboration of their assertion, they were required to trample upon the crucifix, the object of adoration to those whom the Japanese had formerly known under the name of Christians.
seek The ambitious title of apostolic.-P. 179. The poet is enumerating the marks of the Catholic church, according to the Nicene creed, which he makes out to be Unity, Truth, Sanctity, and Apostolic Derivation, all of which he denies to the church of England. The qualities of truth and sanctity are implied under the word Catholic.
The Joseph you exiled, the Joseph whom you sold.-P. 182. The English Benedictine monks executed a renunciation of the abbey lands, belonging to the order before the Reformation, in order to satisfy the minds of the possessors, and reconcile them to the re-establishment of the ancient religion, by guaranteeing the stability of their property. There appeared, however, to the proprietors of these lands, little generosity in this renunciation, in case the monks were to remain in a condition of inability to support their pretended claim; and, on the other hand, some reason to suspect its validity, should they ever be strong enough to plead their title. The king's declaration of indulgence contained a promise upon this head, which appeared equally ominous : He declared, that he would maintain his loving subjects in their properties and possessions, “as well of church and abbey lands as of any other." The only effect of this clause was to make men enquire, whether popery was so near being established as to make such a promise necessary; and if so, how far the promise itself was to be relied upon, in opposition to the doetrine of resumption, which had always been enforced by the Roman see, even when these church lands fell into the hands of persons of their own persuasion, unless they were dedicated to pious uses. Nor were there wanting persons to remind the proprietors of such lands, that the canons declared that even the pope had no authority to confirm the alienation of the property of the church ; that the general council of Trent had solemniy anathematized all who detained church lands ; that the Monasticon Anglicanum was carefully preserved in the Vatican as a rule for the intended resumption; and that the reigning pope had obstinately refused to confirm any such alienations by his bulls, though the doing so at this
crisis might have removed a great obstacle to the growth of Popery in England.-See, in the State Tracts, a piece called “ Abbey Lands not assured to Roman Catholics," Vol. I. p. 326; and more especially a tract, by some ascribed to Burnet, and by others to Sir William Coventry, entitled, “ A Letter written to Dr Burnet, giving some account of Cardinal Pole's secret powers; from which it appears, that it never was intended to confirm the Alienation that was made of the Abbey Lands. To which are added, 'Two Breves that Cardinal Pole brought over, and some other of his Letters that were never before printed, 1685."
The fireworks which his angets made above.-P. 182. The aurora borealis was an uncommon spectacle in England during the 17th century. Its occasional appearance, however, gave toundation to those tales of armies fighting in the air, and similar phenomena with which the credulity of the vulgar was amused. The author seems to allude to some extraordinary display of the aurora borealis on the evening of the battle of Sedgemuir, which was chiefly fought by wight. I do not find the circumstance noticed elsewhere. Dryden attests it by his personal evidence.
And rough inclemencies of raz nocturnal air.-P. 183. This seems to be a sarcasm of the same kind with the following: “ But,” says the zealous Protestant of the mother church, “ if you repeal the test, you take away the bulwark that defends the church; for if that were once demolished, the enemy would rush in and possess all; and it is a delicate innocent church that cannot be safe but in a fortified place.”—“I must confess, it is a great argument of her modesty to own herself weak and unable to subsist without the support of parliamentary laws, to hang, draw, or quarter her opposers, and without a coercive power in herself to fine and excommunicate all recusants and nonconformists."* One would wish to ask this Catholic advocate for universal toleration, if he had ever heard of a court in Popish countries for the prevention of beresy, generally called the Inquisition ?
• New Test of the Church of England's Loyally,