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The Protestant Beacon.
SERMON BY THE Rev. Dr. M'NEILE. – Dr. M'Neile preached at St. Clement Danes, from Luke iv. 18. The large church was crowded to the doors by an earnest and attentive audience. The rev. doctor, contending that Romanism and Ritualism were both slavery, as compared with Gospel liberty, in the course of his argument said : Satan, as a slaveholder, held men by nature completely under his sway, and crushed both body and soul beneath his rod. Nothing could deliver man from his power but the testimony of God's love preached, and this believed caused the renewal of every one who received it. The Gospel frees from the slavery of sin, and makes man a free agent; but Rome goes farther than the slaveholder. He holds the body captive, she the soul as well, while, worse than all, she turns the very Gospel of God's grace into an engine of greater slavery. You will find in the writings of her devotees many beautiful passages, proclaiming God's grace, but it is grace in baptismgrace in ordinance-and this so-called grace only brings a poor sinner into bondage to ordinances, and thus causes a worse captivity than any other. It is the very completeness of the Gospel scheme which forms its glorious liberty. But Romanism and Ritualism deny that completeness, and thus wrap the chains of slavery tighter and tighter round their hapless victims. Romanism seeks to press slavery on the State, Ritualism upon the Church. Ritualism was the half-way house to captivity, and must be resisted to the death. The preacher made a strong appeal to the congregation not to suffer themselves to be carried back into the Egyptian bondage from which their fathers escaped by their blood. England, in her might, stood up for the negro, but a negro is not so enslaved as a man confessing to another; and, after referring to the former forecasts of his, made in the same pulpit thirty-five years since, as to the progress
of Romanism, he pointed out the inability of our honest English statesmen to cope with the skilled diplomacy of Rome, and warned his hearers that the disruption and disendowment of the Irish Church would only lead to the entire absorption of its revenues and power by the Romish priesthood.The Rock.
RELIGIOUS LIBERTY.—The Bristol Times and Mirror, of April 8, says: “Now, let us see what this clever party understands by 'religious equality and civil and religious liberty.' We shall take it, not from its enemies, which would only be doing ourselves a discredit and disservice, but from their own most reliable authorities, and we ask the English people to pause a little, and compel their representatives to pause too, ere they play into the hands of a confederacy which openly and deliberately avows the objects they have in view, and of which the late division in favour of Mr. Gladstone's motion is the beginning. The Civilta Cattolica is one of the accredited organs of Ultramontanism. It has been raised by a brief of the present Pope to the position and dignity of Authorised defender and exponent of the Catholic faith,' and we may therefore take for granted that whatever it says is the correct thing.' The supremacy of the Sovereign Pontiff (it says) is above all temporal Princes, and the independence of the Romish hierarchy and priesthood above all save ecclesiestical laws and jurisdiction,' and it further declares that the Papal is that power which claims to overrule all other powers, and to approve or condemn the principles by which they live and move.' The Tablet, which is quite as orthodox as the Civilta, tells us that the Pope has reached the highest limit of all earthly greatness; all nations do him service; of his kingdom there is no end; he has to stand between God and man on a pinnacle alone.' The Westminster Gazette, another paper under similar auspices, accepts what it terms the inferior position of Roman Catholics in this country for the present, and deems it 'manifestly unwise or inexpedient to punish religious error,' but at Rome, where the situation is reversed, 'public heresy is a mortal offence, to be punished by law.” The Rambler, confessedly the ablest public organ of the party, is much more outspoken than any of its brethren, and with laudable explicitness tells us what we are to expect in the good time coming. The extract is rather long, but it is so frank and manly, and, we will be bound to say, so truthful, that we shall make no apology for inserting it: We are the children of a Church which has ever avowed the deepest hostility to the principles of religious liberty. Many a Catholic really imagines himself to be a votary of religious liberty, and is confident that, if the tables were turned and the Catholics the uppermost in the land, he would in all circumstances grant others the same unlimited toleration he now demands for himself. His object is to silence Protestants. He persuades himself he is telling the exact truth. Believe us not, Protestants of England and Ireland, for an instant when you hear us pouring forth our Liberalisms. Such a person is not talking Catholicism, but Protestantism and nonsense. You ask if he were lord in the land, and you were in the minority, if not in numbers yet in power, what would he do to you? That, we say, would entirely depend on circumstances. If it would benefit Catholicism, he would tolerate you ; if expedient, he would imprison you, banish you, fine you, possibly even he might hang you, but he would never tolerate you for the sake of the principles of civil and religious liberty. No. Catholicism is the most intolerant of all creeds. It is intolerance itself, for it is the truth itself. We might as rationally maintain that a sane man has a right to believe that two and two do not make four, as this theory of religious liberty. Its impiety is only to be equalled by its absurdity. Our Roman Catholic fellow-subjects are oftentimes angry when we presume to question their loyalty, or attempt to debar them from privileges which they think they should enjoy. For our own parts we have pleasure not only in believing but in being well assured that there are thousands of Roman Catholics in this realm as attached and faithful to the Constitution as any others in the land; but we think they will admit on calm reflection that such doctrines as those we have cited are not the best calculated to make us look with liking on the possible spread of the religious equality' there spoken of. Here we can afford to look with forbearance on such exposition of Roman Catholic policy, but in Ireland, where, if Mr. Gladstone has his will, the minority may possibly at no distant period be at the mercy of an irritated and vindictive majority, the question becomes one of great practical moment. To be forewarned is to be forearmed, and, when we have thus exhibited the genuine spirit of Ultramontanism, as pictured by its own authoritative exponents, the British public will be the better able to judge what is meant by the common phrases of the leaders of that party, and how seriously Protestants of every denomination should reflect before they grant a further concession of religious equality' to those who are not unlikely to make a very bad use of it.” The same paper, under the same date, contains the following letter upon
THE IRISH CHURCH QUESTION. GENTLEMEN, -In accordance with your remarks in your leading article of this day, I say the destruction of the Irish Church will not satisfy the agitators, nor will anything short of the total subjugation of all that is dear to us as a Protestant nation meet the rapacious demands of our adversaries. As an Englishman, for nearly twelve years resident in the sister isle, I unhesitatingly affirm that the Protestant Church in Ireland is not held by the Roman Catholic population generally in that dis-esteem which is represented. On the contrary, it is a well-known fact that, if & favour is wanted, it is the Protestant clergyman that is appealed to by the poor Romanist
, and not the priest. The latter is feared; the former is loved. I would, if necessary, give abundant proof of this.
That the Irish Church requires reformation, and a more equitable distribution of its funds, I am quite ready to admit; but to destroy it, whilst it is almost entirely maintained by its own people, would be an act of most unjust and cruel sacrilege. As you have stated, such an act would alienate from the throne and the constitution generally a million and a half of most loyal and devoted subjects. A spirit of rancour and bitterness would be aroused, the issue of which it is impossible to foresee.
It is, gentlemen, a lamentable fact that, in their hostility to all Church establishments, our Nonconformist friends, in taking so active a part in the destruction of the Irish Church, are most unwittingly undermining their own religious, social, and constitutional interests. They may say we have nothing to fear from Rome; but let me tell them they have every: thing to fear from a system that boasts itself as being unchanged and unchangeable. What Rome, in her intolerance, bigotry, and destructiveness was, she still is, and will, give her the power, ever prove to be. She has had toleration, she seeks equality; then she will demand, and be satisfied with nothing short of, supremacy. Little do our Nonconformist friends know the thorough contempt in which Dissenters are held by Rome. It is now her policy to disguise that fact, merely making use both of Dissenters and Ritualists to do her work.
I have many friends, whom I highly regard and esteem, who conscientiously differ from those within the pale of an Establishment to which I am equally conscientiously attached, and in connexion with which I count it my highest privilege to minister. But I venture affectionately and ardently to warn and caution my Nonconformist friends in regard to the work to which they are lending themselves. The avowed object of that great partisan of Rome-the pervert, Dr. Manning-long has been the conversion of England. Now what does he mean by this? Nothing less than the uprooting of all our great Protestant intereststhe destruction of our free constitution—the setting up, in the place of our loved Queen, him who is blasphemously called "My Lord God the Pope!”. Shall this be? Will England, with all the dear-bought lessons she has been taught, as the page of history so clearly shows, submit to this ? Shall we, as a free, Bible-loving nation, return to all the darkness, the degradation, the destructiveness of Papal days and Popish doings ? God for ever forbid ! And yet I know it to be a fact—I vouch for what I am about to say upon the ground of the very highest and most unquestionable authority-Dr. Manning has lately declared, “We have all we ask for, and we shall soon have all we want."
In proof, gentlemen, that the mere doing away with the Irish Church
will not satisfy the clamorous demands of our assailants, I subjoin a verbatim copy of a letter I received through the post yesterday. You may take it for what it is worth :
Bristol. REV. SIR,–A debate is pending before the Fenian counsell of the Bristol district, the last efforts of the Irish down-trodden slave to brake his shackels and regain his freedom; urgent cases require desperate remedies. It was proposed in a certain part of Bristol, where the counsell met, by a certain minor centre, to organise a body called extermanist, to exert their power and influence to poison the resoviors of the towns and wells of the country, and likewise provisions, and so carry on the work of vengance to rid the country of their deadly foes, witch, if brought into execution, will be a gloryfication. I have since heard it was resolved, at the close of the debate, to convey the notes of the meeting to Dublin, for head quarters.
I offer no comment upon the foregoing, except this, that if, when the Romish and Ritualistic party (which may be regarded as one and the same thing) are exulting over their recent triumph in the House of Commons, the abettors of their system are thus privately and stealthily conspiring against our own common well-being and security, where can there be greater proof of the truth of your theory, that what they ask, and what we fear they are upon the point of having-namely, the destruction of the Irish Church —will not satisfy ?
I am, gentlemen, yours respectfully, St. Luke's, Bedminster, April 7, 1866. D. A. DOUDNEY, D.D.
“PROVE ALL THINGS.” AMONGST the multiplied productions of our day that play fast and loose with the truth of God, it is pleasant to meet with something that is certain, special, and distinctive. The Rev. T. H. Gregg, curate of Cradley, has issued a brief review of a lecture delivered by the Rev. J. C. Ryle, entitled, “Evangelical Religion; what it is, and what it is not.” We view Mr. Ryle as the exponent of a party, and therefore this lecture is indicative of the opinions of modern evangelicals. Facts bear testimony also, as pulpit and press are unanimous in giving forth the same definition of evangelicalism that Mr. Ryle in his lecture maintains. Comments, therefore, upon it cannot be viewed as personal, for they are the opinions of a body that consider their newly-shaped creed their glory, if Mr. Ryle had never been born.
The divinity of our day is about as definite as the address of the old woman's letter: "To my son in the East or West Indies.” It is a corrupt and crafty admixture of truth and error, concealing where it cannot overthrow, and neutralizing the doctrines that cannot be removed. It is customary now to speak of the doctrines of grace as your views, or, as you see things, or, as the opinions of Mr. So-and-80. Those who hold free-grace truths as typed out in Old Testament ceremonials, or plainly stated in the new, are regarded by modern evangelicals as “ultras," « hypers," " bigots," " extreme men,” “narrow minded,” very different to the large-hearted, world-saving, general redemptionists of the day, whose religion might be termed creatureism, being based upon free-will and human ability, with just as much truth as errors added, neutralize.
In the fifth century, when popery began to take a form visibly, Ar
minianism took its rise doctrinally; the Welsh monk Pelagius delivered to the world his five points. They were resolutely opposed by St. Augustine, and put down by the council of Carthage ; but they fell in with the natural mind of man, and became the creed of the Church of Rome. After the Reformation in the sixteenth century, the doctrines of Pelagius turned up in the Protestant churches through Jas. Arminius, a Dutchman, in the following order :
I. That God has not fixed the futura state of mankind by an absolute decree, but determined to bestow salvation on those whom He foresaw would persevere unto the end.
II. That Christ by His death made an atonement for the sins of mankind in general, and every man in particular, and His death hath thus put man in a capacity of being justified and pardoned, on condition of faith and repentance.
III. That mankind are not totally depraved; and that depravity does not come upon them by virtue of Adam's fall, but only natural evil and death.
IV. That divine grace is given by God in regeneration ; nevertheless, this grace is offered to all, and may be resisted and rendered ineffectual by the perverse will of the impenitent.
Ñ. That they who are united to Christ are thereby furnished with abundant strength to triumph over the temptations of Satan, but that, nevertheless, they may fall from grace grossly and finally.
We wot had Arminius lived in our day, he would have found a goodly number ripe and ready for unreserved subscription to his articles. But of the sixteenth century it may be said, “There were giants in those days." Christian Churches sent up their deputies to protest against these errors, viewing them as the modified doctrines of Rome; and the synod of Dort, without ambiguity, gave forth as the decision of the Churches the five following points :
I. Predestination to life.
V. Final perseverance. This was followed up by our own Westminster assembly of divines in 1643, when Arminianism was authoritatively condemned as heretical, and catechisms and articles given to the Churches as the true interpretation of Scripture in strict accordance with the decision of the synod of Dort, or what is popularly stigmatized in our day, as ultra Calvinism. These were the orthodox doctrines preached at the Reformation, and maintained by the reformed Churches as the established creed, and which found their way into the Church of Rome under a term of Jansenism, from Bishop Jansen, who, through the writings of St. Augustine, was enlightened in the truths of the Gospel, which, then, and at this day, divide the Church of Rome into two opposing parties. Now we approach Mr. Ryle's definition of modern evangelicalism, which he calls, his five points :
İ. The absolute supremacy evangelical religion assigns to Holy Scripture.
II. The depth and prominence it assigns to the doctrine of human sinfulness.
III. The paramount importance it attaches to the work and offices of our Lord Jesus Christ.