« PreviousContinue »
qucnted by country people, and the hymns and religious exercises used on these occasions.
8. We desire to banish all uncharitableness towards members of other persuasions. Before administering to any one the most sacred and most universal duties of man, we will not ask, whether he keeps it with Paul, or with Apollos, or with Cephas, (1 Cor. i. 12.) Therefore, henceforth, let no priest dare to administer, or rather to pervert and turn into a curse, the blessings of the all-loving God, by refusing it to a couple of mixed profession, or by excluding Protestant Christians from the office of sponsors. If but the harmony of union in love is once established, it will also be followed by that of faith, as surely as love, according to the words of Christ and the Apostles, is the greatest of all spiritual forces. But Church compulsion has already too plentifully borne its fruits of misery and confusion amongst a thousand families; and how does it agree with the civil equality of all men and citizens, if in a neighbouring country, where a Court preacher has dared to place Protestant Christians amongst serpents and vipers, priests in high authority have granted their consecration without difficulty to couples of rank of mixed profession; while even the enlightened clergyman must refuse the same to the middle and lower order, if he does not choose to risk his own temporal well being ?
9. But even our most benevolent and enlightened priests cannot appreciate and feel the significance of the blessing which men long for in all such unions and solemn family events, as long as they themselves are forbidden by the law of celibacy, (the human ordinance of inhuman love of power,) from choosing according to the law of God, a helpmate for their outer and inner life. The Apostle Paul, who in 1 Tim. iii. 28. (which portion has been purposely perverted,) expressly demands the marriage of priests; “ for if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he rule the Church of God?" in the same place (iv. 1-3,) calls the ordinance of celibacy the doctrine of the devil, not to
mention other writers. It is known, that not until more than a thousand years after Christ the Roman Bishops succeeded in separating a great part of the Catholic clergy, by forced celibacy, from a closer union with their countrymen and parishes, and thus to chain them tighter to Rome. But with a great part of European and Asiatic Catholics they could never entirely enforce their will, and found themselves obliged, amongst others, to allow marriage to the clergy of one of our German tribes, the East Frieslanders. Men, who only know the inferior, material significance of marriage, and whose own sentiments are too low and sensual to be able to appreciate the holy longing of the human soul after love and participation in the joys and sorrows of a whole life, may well ascribe impure motives to the opposition of our priests against celibacy. It is superfluous to show here, what pernicious effect the unnatural solitude of celibacy continues to exercise upon the happiness of life, professional usefulness, honour and morals of many priests.
10. We will not conclude the dreary enumeration of the over ripe diseases of our Church, without having, so it please God, laid the axe to the root of the evil. This root we distinctly recognise in the dependence of Catholics in general, and above all of German Catholics, upon the Roman Pope.
Of a visible Head of the Church, and though it were the most worthy, we do not stand in need, if we are at all assembled and united in the name and spirit of Him, who, “wherever two or three are gathered together in his name, will be in the midst of them.” (Matt. xviii. 20.) In our days no Catholic, instructed in history, will allow himself to be imposed upon by the fiction of our Saviour himself having, through Peter, instia tuted the Papacy.
We will not speak here of all the irreparable injury which, according to all impartial witnesses of history, true Catholic Christianity has suffered through the reign of the Pope. It is sufficient for us to indicate, that in the very nature of things, the heads of an Italian State, who suffer their own country and people, whose wants and capacities they ought to know, to fall into the utmost distraction, it is impossible for them to decide, what is to serve for the good of nations, whose natural organization and present culture are widely different from that of the Italians. The noble minded Pope Ganganelli, (who, indeed, according to all probability, was assassinated by Roman Jesuits,) well acquainted with German culture, saw himself that the Germans do not stand in need to consult Rome about the salvation of their souls, and expressed, on that account, the necessity of a German Church.
Very particularly do we feel constrained to confess, that in the numerous cases, in which the will of the foreign sovereign, announced in the name of Christ, and even of God, runs counter to the will and well-being of our Fatherland and our rightful sovereigns, we see upon both sides the danger of perjury, if we continue to be Papal Catholics any longer. It is not good to serve two masters, and most recent signs of the times establish this apprehension, that the attachment to the foreign Roman Church has, with many of her servants, undermined the nearest and most sacred duties towards their country and their sovereign.
It is not impossible that the spiritual government of Rome may attempt to stop the expected separation from her of thousands, yea, of millions, of the most pious and intelligent-minded Catholics, by momentary concession, and apparent entering into their just wishes. But most assuredly this would be done with the silent reservation to reproduce, at the first opportune time, the chains which dishonour the German spirit, and the spirit of humanity in general. We expressly guard ourselves against allowing any sort of concession or refusal from the Roman Bishop, or in his name. We wish to show, by this document, that it is not through vague desires and foolish restlessness, but by conscientious meditation, that we are driven to the hopeful prayer, That our hon oured Bishop may, in virtue of his
office as the faithful shepherd of our souls, combat at our head the common enemy. Your Grace may believe our assurance, that a great number, nay, by far the majority, of your spiritual and temporal flock, are waiting your call with impatience; we consider ourselves only as their mouth-piece.
It hardly requires noticing, that there will not be wanting those who will endeavour to vilify this our manifestation before your Grace, while others are as yet prevented, by manifold reasons, from openly avowing their conviction, although entirely agreeing with ourselves. But we feel assured that these phenomena will not hide the true ground and position of affairs from the clear view of our most reverend Bishop.
Nor do you, surrounded by a grateful community, fear the enmity of Rome. The Bishop and Priest, elected freely by his own countrymen and truest fellow-believers, will every where at home be more welcome with those who rule and those who obey, than he who depends on foreign blessing. In particular, we hope confidently that the fathers and rulers of our German land and people will protect its sons against the unrightebus judgment of a foreign power, which would maintain a state within the state. This power shall not prevent the ancient Christian Church, changed by her into a prison-house, from which those without stand off in fear, from becoming once more the house of liberty, into which the heavy laden (Matt. xi. 28.) of all nations shall enter. Then only will she bear the name of “ Catholic," “ Universal,” indeed, and in blissful truth.
This most venerable name of “ Catholic Christianity,” we, the undersigned, continue to profess with all our hearts, be against us who will; and reserve for ourselves, at all events, all rights attached to this name and to our community. Our present attempt being precisely for the reacquisition and protection, for ourselves and our brethren, of those rights which, partly, have long since been lost, or are even in our days
endangered by force and cunning of foreign priests and their confederates.
Therefore, what we confidently expect from your Grace is, nothing less than assistance for guarding our rights, than precedence in the right way. Respectfully we sign ourselves, Your Grace's most obedient.
(Here follow the signatures.) Offenbach, 20th Feb., 1845.
throne of these realms ? Are not Roman Catholics excluded from the Commons House of Parliament by the oath of supremacy, and have not persons of that persuasion been subsequently excluded from seats in the Upper House ? By these acts the Constitution was sealed--the union between Church and State was thus preserved -it is, according to the present Constitution of the country, an union intimate and indissoluble as that between man and wife. If we abandon this principle, we abandon the Constitution itself.
LORD ELDON ON POPERY.
It is my firm, my fixed, and unalter. able conviction, that if Roman Catholics are once permitted to take their seats in either House of Parliament, or to legislate for the state, or if they are granted the privilege of possess. ing the great executive offices of the Constitution, from that day, and that moment, the sun of Great Britain is set. * * * * * If it be true, as so many suppose, that “religious opinions have nothing to do with politics,” then it is equally true that the King [read Queen now] has no right, or ever had, to sit upon the throne of these realms. The fact is, His Majesty sits upon the throne at this hour, as his predecessors did before him, by virtue, and in consequence, of peculiar religious opinions. The present line was called there on these very grounds. How then can religion and politics be so widely dissevered in this country? Was not the descent of the house of Stuart interrupted in order that no Roman Catholic should be seated on the
BRUSSELS. The Roman Catholic print, the Journal de Bruxelles, concludes a long account of the religious movement in England in the following terms. “The reaction which has taken place in England against Puseyism does not alarm us in the least. A crisis was inevitable, and it has arrived sooner than was expected. But is that a misfortune? No; Puseyism is attacked, its opponents seek to obstruct its developement, and it will be necessarily obliged to act on the defensive. Now, the struggle which is about to commence will be characterized by the same circumstance which attended the discussion of the principles of the Puseyites. These individuals will stand firm, and involuntarily, perhaps unconsciously, be led to confound their cause with the Catholic one, which is already their own, although they do not acknowledge that fact.” (Qui est deja la leur, quoiqu'ils ne se l'avouent pas.)
SUMMARY OF PASSING EVENTS. " There are many devices in a man's heart; nevertheless the counsel of the Lord
that shall stand.” The Maynooth Bill has passed the and we must confess that there is House of Lords with a large majority, scarcely a spot in the passage of the as was expected. It is fearful to see Bill through the House of Lords on such a want of sound Protestant feel- which we can look with satisfaction. ing amongst the nobles of our land : Lord Roden, Lord Winchelsea, and
one or two other lay peers, did their duty as honest Protestants. The Bishop of London entered fully into the root of the evil, as did the Bishop of Cashel, and the Bishop of Llandaff; but when we have said this, we have said all. The Bishop of Exeter had far better have been silent, objecting, not as he should have done to the support of Popish establishment in toto, but only to the one at Maynooth. With respect to the bishops, as a body, we can feel no satisfaction in the course they have pursued on the occasion. It is lamentable that even five or six should be found to vote in favour of the measure; and so far from being satisfied that seventeen recorded their votes against it, we must express our deep regret that so many failed to vote at all, and also that they who did resist the measure, were content with giving a silent vote. When the enemy is at the gate, and treachery is also at work within the citadel, it is not the time for languid and scanty efforts ; least of all is it the time for the watchmen to be silent. The Church and the Clergy had a right to expect that their Bishops would have fearlessly unfurled the banner of their sound, unequivocal Protestantism. There needed no lengthened speeches ; but what an effect would it have produced, how ever unavailing for the prevention of the mischief, if every non-content Bishop had been in his place and had briefly stated the respective grounds on which he dissented. If, as has been stated, one Bishop at least had only recently been led to change his sentiments on the subject, what an impression might have been produced in other quarters by the generous and manly disclosure of the arguments on which that change had been grounded.
But in all humility, though in heaviness and grief of spirit, we ex. press our conviction that the cause of Protestantism, and the best interests of our Church in connexion with it, have failed to find an efficient succour and support from our ecclesiastical superiors. We could say much, though not all that harasses and depresses our spirit regarding the Tractarian movement; but our busi
ness at present is with Popery, palpable and undisguised. We cannot understand the principle on which the Bishops have forborne to take at the outset a prominent part in opposing the endowment of Popery. O'Connell has thanked the Clergy for their quiescence; and others, with him, have made the most of that quiescence, in advocacy of the Ministerial scheme. We do not believe that the Clergy are disposed to receive such thanks, or that, as a body, they are otherwise than decidedly hostile to the present movement. But there has been a prevailing deference to ecclesiastical authority and direction, and in this respect the Clergy have been as sheep without a shepherd; alarmed at the cry of danger, but not knowing what to do, or which way to move in the absence of the shepherd. Surely the Bishops would have done well to have openly avowed to the Clergy their own sentiments and their own wishes; to have suggested the propriety of archideaconal meetings in their respective dioceses, and thus to have put forward the Church of England, in her true character and aspect, as a reformed and Protestant Church. But we know not a diocese in which such a course has been pursued; and we know too many instances in which urgent entreaties from the Clergy to their Archdeacons or other ecclesiastical authorities to call meetings, have been treated with heartless indifference and neglect. How different would it have been if the Bishops had stood forward in their true positionas our “standard bearers !” Never was there a crisis in which the dearest interests of the Christian religion were placed in more imminent peril, and never, perhaps, were there circumstances in which we are constrained to look with more hopeless despondency to every arm of flesh, or with feelings of sadder disappointment to the quarters from which we had a right to expect our most efficient and uncompromising support.
But now what is to be done?
This is a question easily and naturally asked, but not so easily answered.
Two courses readily present themselves, and distinct and contrary as
they undoubtedly are, much has to be said in favour of both of them. A warm and hearty patriotism may suggest that, to the very last, we must exert ourselves in defence of our dear est interests, involving, as we believe, our country's liberties and highest welfare; while, on the other hand, we cannot wonder if the Christian should regard all public efforts as unavailing, and in the spirit of despondency should resolve to have done with the concerns of the world, and retire within the narrower limits of his own preparation for what may be the issue of this fearful crisis.
Now we believe that it is in the combination of these two courses that our line of conduct will be found to lie.
And, in the first place, we must never, in the spirit of hopeless despondency, give up. “ Onward, on ward,” must be the Christian's watchword, when the glory of God and our country's welfare, and our Church's very existence, are at stake. But wherein can we exert ourselves with any tolerable hope of effect? We can do no good whatever with any machinery at present in existence. But the nation is essentially and honestly Protestant. The body of the people in town and country are alive to their danger. The life-blood of Protestantism runs warmly and healthily through their veins. But the people are misrepresented. If the voice of constituents had been heard and heeded by the members of the House of Commons, this ungodly measure would never have passed to the Sovereign for her assent.
Now we do not say that any persons should wish or expect their representatives to vote against their judgments and consciences; this would be unreasonable. But the constituency of England have a responsible duty to discharge in the selection of their representatives; and here lies the course to be pursued with the prospect, under God's blessing, of any advantage.
It is well to implore our gracious Queen to dissolve her parliament ere she passes the obnoxious bill; but, at all events, a dissolution must shortly take place, and we must all be im
proving our opportunities and influence in preparation for it. We trust that no considerations of private worth, or old attachment, or indeed of party politics, will be allowed to weigh in the choice of our future members. The existence of our civil and religious liberties and privileges is threatened in the most serious manner, and we must know and accredit no man, however high his pretensions, as Whig or Tory, Conservative or Radical-every thought and every principle must merge in that of sound, unequivocal, uncompromising Protestantism. And the candidate who will honestly defend the privileges for which our forefathers bled, must be the candidate of our choice. We trust that all legitimate means will be called into exercise and kept alive for the furtherance of this great object. We may still fail in our effort, but at all events we shall have the satisfaction of having done our duty; and if, as we greatly fear, the measures now in progress only advance to our national and ecclesiastical ruin, it will at least be some relief to feel that we have had no participation in the effecting of it.
Along with this course of public duty, we cannot but be impressed with the urgency of the call which passing events press upon us to the exercises of penitential supplication on behalf of ourselves, our families, our Church, our country. Let the Lord see a praying, penitent people, and he may yet repent him of the evils we have merited, and pity his people. But our limits fail us. We hope to resume these important suggestions; and shall only now lay before our readers a very seasonable call to this duty in a letter which has just appeared from Mr. Poynder:
LET GOD BE ENTREATED FOR
SIR,,I was impressed on Sunday by a faithful sermon on the text, "Oh, let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak yet but this once, peradventure ten shall be found there. And he said, I will not destroy it for ten's sake," I confess that the en