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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 ibe 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 destines to establish the future marts for ber cominodities. The success of such missionaries among the swage 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.
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
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 doctrine 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 solemnly 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 angels made above.-P. 182. The aurora borealis was an uncommon spectacle in England during the 17th century. Its occasional appearance, however, gave foundation 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 night. I do not find the circumstance noticed elsewhere. · Dryden attests it by his personal evidence.
And rough inclemencies of raw 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, 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 canpot be safe but in a tortified place.”—“1 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 heresy, generally called the Inquisition ?
* New Test of the Church of England's Loyalty.