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They, however, prevailed in their demand to be taken before the chief; but, on their way, the English consul rescued them, and secured them in his house from the persecution of the Protestants. A letter of thanks was written to him by the missionaries from their exile.
Here, then, is a persecution of Catholic converts by the ministers of a Protestant religion, and a system of penal infliction pursued against those who would not abandon our religion ; a system carried to such an extent, that a female of royal blood was for a time terrified from embracing it, by the threat of being sentenced to public hard labour. Here, as everywhere else, the Catholics persevered in their faith ; but, what shall we say, of the oft repeated boast, that Protestantism ever abhors religious persecution, and only Catholicity is of an intolerant and cruel spirit ?
In April, 1833, the king published a decree, whereby all were left at liberty to neglect or attend the Protestant Churches.* The moment the decree was passed, the churches became deserted and empty; and the islanders rushed madly to their wonted sports, which had been forbidden, while the Catholics did not lose a single convert, nor did any of them frequent the games without permission of their catechists. The return of the missionaries was expected, and a bishop, Mgr. Rouchoux, has been appointed to the mission.f
Now, let any person contrast the conduct of the two Churches; the one endured persecution and yet remained faithful; the other was supported by the law, and the moment compulsory attendance was taken off, was abandoned by its proselytes. Such a comparison, joined to the many similar examples which I have given this evening, furnishes us with matter of serious reflection, and must, I am sure, be a subject of great consolation and encouragement to those who profess the true faith of Christ.
I cannot conceive a more delightful study, than the pe. * Kotzebue tells us that he himself saw the poor natives driven into the church by blows with a stick.
† “ Ami de la religion,” 17 July, 1834.
culiar manner in which Christianity can adapt itself to every possible state and condition of mankind. Every other religious system has been adapted for one peculiar climate or character. No ingenuity, no talent, could ever have induced the wild Huron to embrace the amphibious and abstemious religion of the Ganges, to spend half his day, and hope for his sanctification, in long and frequent ablutions in his freezing lakes, or to abstain from animal food, and subsist on vegetables, in a climate where stern nature would have forbidden such a course. The soft and luxurious inhabitants of Thibet, could never have transplanted into their perfumed groves, the gloomy incantations and sanguinary divinities of the Scandinavian forests, or listened with delight to the sagas, and tales of blood and glory, which nerved the heart of the Sea-king, amidst the storms of the North Nor could he have ever learnt and practised, in his rude climate, the religions of the East, with their light pagodas, their gaudy paintings, their varied perfumes, and their effeminating morals. The worship of Egypt sprung from the soil, and must have perished, if transplanted beyond the reach of the Nile's inundation ; that of Greece, with its poetical mythology, its Muses, its Dryads, and its entire Olympus, could only be the creed of a nation, which could produce Anacreon and Homer, Phidias and Apelles. Nay, even the Jewish dispensation bears manifest signs that its Divine author did not intend it for a permanent and universal establishment. But Christianity alone is the religion of every clime and of every race. From pole to pole, from China to Peru, we find it practised and cherished by innumerable varieties of the great human family, whether we consider their constitutions, their mental capacities, their civil habits, their political institutions, nay their very physiognomy and complexion.
But, let us be just to ourselves; it is only the Catholic religion which possesses this beautiful faculty of suiting every character, national and individual, by becoming all to all, of uniting by a common link, the most discordant elements, and fashioning the most dissimilar dispositions after the same model of virtue, without effacing the lines of national peculiarity. Lutheranism was for years forced upon the docile natives of Ceylon, and engendered the most horrible of religious chimeras, -the worship of Christ united to the service of devils ! The Independents have laboured long and zealously, for the conversion of the teachable and uncorrupted natives of the Sandwich and Society Islands, and they have perfectly succeeded in ruining their industrious habits, exposing the country to external aggression and internal dissension, and disgusting all who originally supported them.
But, on the other hand, the Catholic religion seems to have a grace and an efficacy peculiar to itself, which allows it to take hold on every variety of disposition and situation. It seems to work like that latent virtue of some springs, which slowly removes every frail and fading particle of the flower or bough that is immersed in them, converts them into a solid and durable material, and yet preserves every vein and every line, which gave them individuality in their perishable condition. Its action is independent of civilization : it may precede it, and then it is its harbinger: it may follow it, and then it becomes its corrective. You have seen it alone raise the savage, even in his wilds, to the admiration and acceptance of the most sublime and most incomprehensible mysteries ; you have beheld it in India, nerving its followers alone against the demoralizing influence of the country. · And if he who planteth, and he who watereth is nothing, but the Lord alone giveth the encrease, and if this constant and enduring success can be but the result of a divine blessing, shall not we conclude, that the kingdom of God hath been hereby brought unto so many nations, and that the system here pursued is that whereon his blessing and promise of eternal assistance was pronounced. Let us then rejoice that he has so given us a consoling evidence of his assistance to his Church; and as it has been evinced in one part of her commission, that of successfully teaching all nations, so has it been no less secured upon the other, that of teaching all things which he hath commanded, until the end of time.
LECTURE THE EIGHTH.
ON THE SUPREMACY OF THE POPE.
MATTHEW xvi. 17, 18, 19. “ Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona ; because flesh and blood hath not
revealed it to thee, but my Father who is in heaven. And I thee that thou art Peter; and upon this rock I will build my Church ; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And to thee I will give the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth, it shali be bound also in heaven, and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth, it shall be loosed also in
heaven.” The line of demonstration, which has perhaps been somewhat interrupted by the two last discourses, has I trust, my brethren, led you to form a conception of the Church of Christ conformable to the imagery and the institutions recorded in God's written word. It has been presented to you in both, under the form of a sacred kingdom, wherein all the parts are cemented and bound firmly together, in unity of belief and practice, resulting from a common principle of faith, under an authority constituted by God. But the application of this discovery has been necessarily postponed; for we have but vaguely determined the existence of this authority in the Church of Christ, without defining where, how, or by whom, it has to be exercised.
The tendency of every institution in the Church, so far as we have examined, to produce and cherish this religious unity, will lead us naturally to suppose, that the authority which principally secures it, must likewise be convergent, in its exercise, towards the same attribute. We saw how, in the old law, the authority constituted to teach, narrowed in successive steps, till it was concentrated in one man and his line ;* we saw how. all the figures of the prophets lead us to expect a form of
* Lect. iv. p. 93.
government justly symbolized as a monarchy it, and although, God is to be its ruler, and the Son of David its eternal Head, yet as their action upon man is invisible and indiscernible, while the objects and ends held in view, such as unity of faith, are sensible, and dependent on outward circumstances, we might naturally hope to find some such a vicarious or representative authority, as would, and alone could, secure them in the Church.
Indeed it would appear quite unnatural, that every other institution therein should be outward and visible, and the one, of all others most necessary to give them efficacy, be such as could have no power over the elements which it is intended to control.
It is to the examination of this important point that I wish to turn your attention this evening; and in the results of our enquiry, I trust that you will find the perfect completion of that plan, which I have hitherto unfolded. For as beginning with the foundation, laid in the simplest principles, and based on the word of God and the institutions of both covenants, I have endeavoured gradually to build up before you this sacred dwelling-place of God among men, so may this, which I shall now add, be considered the cope-stone to the entire edifice, whereby it is fastened and held together, and close united, and at the same time crowned,—that which secures at once, and adorns, strengthens, and completes it. So
But in entering, as you will naturally have surmised that it is my intention to do, on the Supremacy of the Holy See, I feel myself met by so many popular prejudices, so many repeated misrepresentations, as to make some preliminary observations necessary. What then do Catholics mean by the Supremacy of the Pope, which for so many years we were required to abjure if we could hope to be partakers of the benefits of our country's laws?. Why it signifies nothing more than that the Pope or Bishop of Rome, as the successor of St. Peter, possesses authority and jurisdiction in things spiritual
+ P. 98. See also for the fuller development of this idea, a Sermon on the Kingdom of Christ, in “ Two Sermons," &c., London, 1832. :