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ple, while the Book of Revelation Society should afford them, most pas denied to them.
of them being too poor to furnish He left the Meeting to draw a supply of Bibles and religious their own inferences from the tes- tracts from their funds, he fully timony of the Roman Catholics anticipated the most cheering and which he had brought forward. delightful results. That the circuWas there room then left to hesi- lation of the Scriptures was most tate, whether we, as Christians, violently and unnaturally opposed patriots, or philanthropists, ought by the Catholic clergy, he well not to combine our efforts in order knew. It had a greater effect upon to emancipate the Irish people from the political state of Ireland than a system so grossly superstitious. was generally supposed. In for
The Earl of RODEN, in moving mer days it was understood that the first resolution, and after eulo- the communications between the gising the different religious soci- clergy and their flocks, were reeties which had been formed for stricted to the inculcating of relithe benefit of Ireland, read a series gious topics, and superintending of resolutions passed by nearly their moral conduct; now, howthree hundred Roman Catholic ever, it was the complete arena of teachers, members, and scholars, political discussions. This was belonging to the Irish Society, in very evident at the last general which they expressed a desire on election; the interference of the the part of themselves and their Catholic clergy having brought fellow men, to read the Scriptures back that spirit which was now in the vulgar tongue; and added manifested in Ireland. The breaktheir firm conviction that the ge- ing out of the spirit of convernerality of the Irish ardently de- sion, now so prevalent,-he, who sired instruction. His Lordship had more experience than most also read a letter or supplication others, knew to be genuine. In from the oman Catholics of Kerry some few instances the converts to the titular Bishop, in which they might have relapsed, but the strongly pointed out the great im. vast majority had firmly adhered portance of reading the scriptures, to the religion they had embraced. and expressed an ardent desire that In three parishes in his immediate their children might enjoy the bene- neighbourhood, on one Sunday fit which others possessed, in bring- last Easter, no less than one ing them acquainted with the truths · hundred and thirty converts sat of salvation.
down to the Lord's Supper. The Right Hon. Lord FARNHAM He had himself closely watched having proposed the second reso- their conduct, and the conduct lution, said, that he would occupy of their families; and he could their time but for a few moments, bear witness to the exemplary and would speak to facts rather order and decorum, with which than broach opinions. The extraor- they were conducted. He could dinary state of excitement which vouch for two three indiprevailed at this moment in Ire- vidual instances which had come land, and the numbers of conver- within his own knowledge. One sions that had occurred, he had no of the first instances was, a small hesitation in ascribing to the exer- farmer, a tenant of his, whose son tions of the Societies alluded to was sent to the school established by his noble friend, and the conse- in that parish, and who was accusquent diffusion of Christian know- tomed to read the Scriptures to ledge. They were the first, the his parents in the evenings. This primary causes of this great move- got to the priest's ears, who immement. The established clergy in diately forbad both the reading of that country were now anxiously the Bible, and sending the child exerting themselves, and with the to school. To the latter the father assistance it was intended this could not consent; he said, he
was ignorant himself, and he tions of heretics. The poor girl could not bear to bring up his shortly made her escape, and child in ignorance too. Shortly travelled twenty miles in order to after this he fell ill, and the priest claim his (Lord Farnham's) prowas sent for ; but he refused to tection. He procured her a situacome, unless the conditions he had tion in one of his tenant's parishes, formerly imposed were acceeded and her moral character and gento. This, the poor man, though eral conduct had, ever since, been then supposed to be on the brink most exemplary. What he had of eternity, absolutely refused. mentioned might be sufficient to He, however recovered, and the prove that the conversions were conduct of the priest made so deep voluntary and unbought. Another an impression on his mind, that striking instance might be related, he determined to hear the Protest- of a man who read the Scriptures ant clergyman, and he soon after on his sick-bed; and, so thoroughread his recantation.
This so ly way he convinced of the errors much offended his wife, that she of his faith, that he not only reused every sort of stratagem to canted himself, but induced his bring him back to popery; but all wife and all his family to follow was unsuccessful, and the poor his example; and, continued his man testified so much patience lordship, I can say with pleaunder his persecution, that it lrad sure, that there is not a more such an effect upon his wife, that exemplary man to be found in his she too went to church, and she, station of life in that part of the too, recanted the errors of popery ; country. It had been stated in and from his (Lord Farnham's) the newspapers, as well as in other own knowledge, he could safely public channels, that these conassert, that, since the conversion, versions were the effect of bribery a more pious and exemplary family and secular emolument. This, did not exist. He could multiply however, he most positively denied. these instances, but would content Out of seven or eight hundred who himself with relating one inore. had read their recantations in the A young female went into service county of Cavan, where he resided, in á Protestant family, where she in no single instance was any secu. heard the Scriptures read daily. lar advantage promised or expectShe was soon convinced of the ed; and out of that number, he errors of popery, and gave in her spoke advisedly, not thirty had recantation. Her relations were relapsed to the Catholic faith. so overpowered, that they forced In meeting for such a purpose as ber to leave her situation, and this, they would, no doubt, be when they got her home, they exposed to many calumnies; but used every means, both of persua- the noble Lord trusted all would, sion and threats, to induce her to like him, treat them with utter return to Catholicism, but all in contempt, and throw around them vain. At length they actually the broad shield of character to forced her to go to mass, and ward off the aspersions. They pulling her down upon her knees, might be told that their object was the priest read something over chimerical, but he was convinced her, which she supposed was the to the contrary. The work was confession of her error, and her going on; and when furnished return to the Holy Catholic with additional means, he had no Church! This happened on one
doubt it would go on prosperously. of the festivals on Candlemas-day. He trusted that the proposal to The priest then took about an inch preach to the Irish in London of candle off the altar, told her to would not be lost sight of. Let sew it up in some of her garments, the Church be planted where it and she would from its influence might, if the preaching was in be able to resist all the tempta- the Irish tongue, it would be. crowded, and be attended with the religion, and of the inestimable most beneficent results.
blessings it imparts, refused or We cannot refrain from insert- neglected to make others partakers ing here an extract from a sermon of it; concealed his treasure from by Dr. Baines, the Roman Catho. the objects of distress, and covered lic Bishop of Sligo, as quoted by "under a bushel,” the light which the Hon. and Rev. Gerard Noel, was wanted to guide the steps of who remarked that such sentiments his benighted fellow-traveller But, ought surely to be heard with plea- if by proselytism is meant the sesure, casting as they do, the broad ducing of men from truth to error, shield of Catholic hierarchy over or what we believe to be such ; if the endeavors of the society. it imply the use of any means that
“And here, my Christian bre- are unfair, unhandsome, dishonorthren,” says the Bishop, “I cannot able, or uncharitable; of violence, refrain from offering a few remarks bribery, false arguments, or any upon what is usually called pro- other means whatsoever, than such selytism. This word is become as are dictated by the strictest odious, and all men seem eager to
truth, and animated by pure benedisclaim its import, as if it were a volence, then, indeed, is proselycriine. Yet what is meant by pro. tism as odious as it is unchristian : selytism? If it means converting then, far be its practice from every others to the trųe, religion, what catholic and from every christian. were the apostles themselves but Be it hated and detested by every the makers of proselytes ? What did lover of honesty, of truth, and of Jesus Christ give them in charge charity.” to do when he bad them “Go and We regret that our limits will teach all nations,” (Matt. xxviii. not allow us to lengthen our re19.) but every where to make pro- port. We can only add, which selytes ? For what were the apos. we do with sincere pleasure, that tles persecuted, put to death, and the sumn collected after the meet. crowned with the glory of martyr- ing, amounted to upwards of £500. dom, but for making proselytes ? -an ample proof of the lively inWhat successor of the apostles terest which was taken by the would do his duty, if he did not meeting in the objects of the soci. labor, like them, to make pro- ety. We hope shortly to hear selytes ? What christian could lay more of its proceedings, and shall claim to the rewards of charity, much rejoice if we can in any de. who, convinced of the truth of his gree promote its important objects.
NOTICES TO CORRESPONDENTS, &c.
Want of room obliges us to defer the insertion of our Literary Notices, the articles
we had prepared on the Reformation in Ireland, and a notice of the Scripture
Readers Society. We have received and shall insert the first opportunity, the communications of “D."
and.“Z.", and "A translation of a paragraph from the Archives du Christianisme." The further observations “On the proper Spirit of Controversy," wbich Clericus
has given us reason to expect, will be thankfully received. We shall avail ourselves of the suggestion of a correspondent, respecting the “Let.
tre a mes Enfans," &c. We thank “A Rector " for « The Book of Bertram." We shall be glad to hear from “The Author of Protestant Reminiscences."
A PRELIMINARY VIEW OF THE SUBJECTS AND THE ORDER OF THE CONTROVERSY.
It is intended to reserve a department in the PROTESTANT GUARDIAN, for some time at least, for the discussion of the most important topics of the controversy between the Protestant and Roman Churches. We shall devote that department in the present number, to a preliminary view of the subjects and the order of the discussion.
In the present state of the controversy, little thạt is entirely original can be expected. The storehouses whence materials for the arguments of this discussion are to be furnished, have been so often searched, that little new matter can be left; and those materials have been so variously combined, that even original combinations are not always to be made.
But what is most capable of being converted into convincing argument is generally the most obvious, and the first to be seized. In the case before us, the arguments which have already been employed, fall nothing short of moral demonstration: we shall content ourselves, therefore, if we should be able to produce little that is entirely new; as we are persuaded we shall be able to produce much that is convincing. We shall, however, follow our own course in the composition of our materials, and endeavour so to arrange them, that the preceding parts may give strength to those which follow; and that the succeeding parts may throw light upon those which have gone before.
Upon this principle of arrangement we shall begin with showing that the HOLY SCRIPTURES are the only and the sufficient TEST of divine truth.
The controversy in prospect has this embarrassment in limine, that the test of truth proper to the matters disputed, is not agreed upon between the dispnting parties.
We reason, ultimately, on all subjects either from selfevident abstract truths, or from a certained phenomena. But a process of reasoning founded on these principles has already conducted us to the conclusion, that the Holy Scriptures are a revelation from God. As this revelation is manifestly a revelation of the nature and circumstances of religion, we might therefore expect to be allowed to reason on religious subjects at once from the Holy Scriptures. But the Church of Rome does not admit either that the Scriptures according to the natural and rational interpretation of them, or that the Holy Scriptures alone according to any interpretation of them, are a sufficient directory in matters of religion. She will have as the rule of faith, her own arbitrary interpretation of the Scriptures, together with certain traditions, which she pretends, without being able to give any better evidence than her own assertion, were orally delivered to her by our Saviour and his Apostles, and are of equal authority with the written word of God. She thus in fact makes herself the Judge in the trial, in which she is a party. We have therefore to show first of all, that the Holy Scriptures interpreted according to reason and the evidence of history are the only infallible, and the sufficient, test of truth in things relating to religion.
When we say that the Holy Scriptures according to the reasonable interpretation of them, are the only and sufficient test of divine truth, we do not mean that reason is to be allowed to go before, or to control their sense in any degree; but that it is to follow after and discover their sense; neither receding from what is open to its investigation, nor intruding into mysteries, from the interior of which it is prohibited. That the Bible thus interpreted is the only infallible and the sufficient rule of faith, is the master principle of genuine Protestantism. Let but reason make it manifest to us that any given proposition is taken out of that sacred record, and however remote the sense of the proposition may be from the limits, within which reason is conversant, we will believe it from the heart upon this demonstration “God hath spoken it, therefore it must be true.”
Having ascertained the infallible Rule of faith, we shall proceed to apply its measure to the claims which the Church of Rome has set up to be regarded as the Catholic Church of Christ,—the Mother and Mistress of all other Churches, -the supreme director and infallible guide in matters of faith and practice—the depository of oral traditions of