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virgin has taken the place of the ancient Goddess Cybele. That goddess was called the mother of the gods ;* peculiar honors were paid to her in Rome, and the day of her festival, was the same as that of our lady.t The points of resemblance between the ancient deities and the modern saints, are many. First, in their original character. The gods of the Romans were often mortals, who, after their death, were supposed to be exalted to that rank, on account of their great deeds or virtues. So with the saints of the Italians. Secondly, in their number. Italy of old was filled with temples to her various deities; churches now are no less numerous, to the Madonna, or some particular saint. Different temples were consecrated 10 the same god, under different titles; different churches are now dedicated to the same object of worship under various names. Thirdly, in the places and things over which they preside. The gods of old were supposed to delight in particular islands, bills, fountains; so it is now with the saints in an equal degree. Every spring or mountain of any note remains as sacred as it was in classical antiquity, and has its presiding saint, as it once had its presiding divinity. In their supernatural powers. The Romans had their gods of medicine and health, who performed miraculous cures; the saints of modern days, it is well known, are thought to do no less. In their moral character. The ancients never scrupled to represent their gods as wicked in the last degree; in this respect, the legends of the saints fall not much short of a parallel. In the use made of their images. The Romans always had images of their · gods in their houses, in markets and other public places, at the intersection of streets, etc : these were generally small statues; and pictures of the Madonna or a saint now answer precisely the same purposes, and in the same manner. The same pagan temple often contained many altars for the worship of different deities; so it is now with the same church. Dr. Middleton derives this popish practice from the similar use of the Romans, “because there never was an example of it but what was paganish before the times of popery,” but abundance of them in paganism. The heathen temple, moreover, was often stripped of its gods, only to make way for as many saints. The same acts of worship are performed to popish saints, as were of old to heathen gods,—the lighting up of candles, the burning of incense, making votive offerings and prayers. ... The high priest of popery derives his style and title, as well as bis rank and power, from the sovereign pontiff, (Pontifex Maxi
* Mater Deorum, Berecynthia Mater. Vol. VI.
Vestiges, &c, chap. 3.
mus,) of old Rome, and not from St. Peter. We argue this on the principle of similarity. The pope claims not only infallibility, but supreme power and authority, in all matters civil and eclesias. astical. This is word for word the same that might be said of the Pontifex Maximus, “whose authority and dignity was the greatest in the republic, and who was looked upon as the arbiter or judge of all things, civil as well as sacred, buman as well as divine."
Next let us compare the rites and ceremonies of pagan, with those of papal Rome. The most prominent article, in the religious services of the Romans, was sacrifice; the victim in which was called hostia. The mass of the Roman catholics is a sacrifice also, (sacrifizio della Messa,) and the wafer which is offered is called Ostia. The attendance of boys upon the officiating priest during the celebration of mass, and the frequent ringing of bells, are likewise relics of paganism.
We shall pursue the parallel between the popery of modern, and the paganism of ancient Rome, no farther. We have presented it so much in detail, only because such a course is indispensable to produce the legitimate effect of the truth in this case. A few detached points of similarity in externals might easily be accounted for, without seriously implicating the character of popery; and therefore, would not constitute legitimate proof of its pagan origin. But when the whole spirit and structure, tbe essential, as well as incidental parts of the system, are seen to be any thing but christian, and plainly borrowed from the religion of ancient Rome, the inference is not to be avoided-popery is not christianity, not like it, except in a few names, and part of its dress. The things remain as they were, in the midnight of pagao superstition. They are baptized, but not changed. From the crown of the head to the sole of the foot, the sin and corruption of idolatry still reign with undirninished sway. Such is the view which should now be taken of it by the christian world. It should be placed upon the same footing with the religion of the Hindoos, the Chinese, or the followers of Mahommed. Some within the pale of that church, as we have already intimated, undoubtedly had the true spirit of christianity. So might Socrates, for augbt we can decide, have been a good man, surrounded and enveloped with darkness that might be felt. The change to be wrought in catholic countries, is as radical as that which must take place arnong the heathen. There is no more of the right leaven in the one than in the other. But infidelty will first succeed the downfall of popery. It will come over the face of countries where that system prevails, like a flood. Already the reaction has commenced. The grasp of unrighteous power is loosening; the
freshening current of manly feeling and free thought and public opinion, is undermining its base; its ruin cannot long be delayed. Set free from the heavy pressure under which it has been the policy of that church for centuries to keep all within its pale, the mass of mind, now catholic, may be expected to burst forth far beyond all just limits, and licentiousness, of every form and feature, both in belief and practice, to prevail. Let the common sense of mankind for a long period be insulted, the conscious right of freedom in thought and action denied them, and though they may for a while forbear, there always comes at last a reckoning day with the oppressor, whether he chains the mind or the body.
We welcome then, portentous though it be, the breaking up of the fountains of the great deep, the sound of which we hear abroad. It must be ; old things will not pass away without violent commotion. The strong holds of error and tyranny will be defended with the resolution of despair ; but, crumbling with age, they cannot long withstand the reaction of an over-wrought system of oppression. Temple and tower of time-sanctioned opinion and custom, tending to destroy men's happiness here and hereafter, must come to the ground; and over the ruins, infidelity, anarchy, atheism and the whole brood of the bottomless pit, may for awhile stalk triumphantly around. But from those ruins silently, without hands, shall rise another temple glorious to behold with the Rock of Ages for its foundation; the Spirit of God shall move the living stones thereof; the beams of its effulgent glory shall spread and circulate over the wide earth; all nations shall see it, and flow together. Truth, then, beautiful, consistent, dictating universal benevolence to man, universal obedience to God, shall reign ; things shall be seen as they are, and that persect vision control all minds and all hearts. Far in the distance, will be seen the retiring clouds of darkness, the clear light now shining; and soon, error, and sin, and crime, with all remembrance that they once were, will sleep in the same grave of forgetfulness together.
The signs of the times plainly indicate that a change of this kind is approaching. Truth, in all its departments, is gaining, error losing, ground. The action of public opinion upon civil government, will in the issue, bear equally upon religious liberty. With religious liberty comes free inquiry ; which, though it may for a time be abused, through the reaction spoken of above, will eventually bring out the truth. The redeeining influence of the gospel will be unchained, and all be brought to operate, with their enfire efficiency, upon the mind and heart of man. Perhaps the most effectual means for the attainment of this end, is the early instruction of youth in the bible. Its inmediate results are the conversion of many, and the enlistment of their lives, with peculiar energy and wholeness of heart, for the cause of truth and of God; its remoter results, the banishment from the earth of those theological errors, some of which even now strip the gospel of its greatest power, and clog its progess towards evangelizing the nations. Pouring as it does, the clear light of truth into the unolcupied, unprejudiced mind, instead of the dimness and perplexity, if not egregious error, of artificial systems, it secures the aid of some of the strongest principles of our own nature against opinions which have nothing to sanction them but the voice of antiquity and boasted authority. He who has once loved the truth, especially the truth of religion, for its own sake, and above all, if that love is the act of a mind not inured to sa and error, will no more suffer his understanding or his heart to be cramped into an artificial system, than he would voluntarily immure himself in the dungeons of the Inquisition. Error often takes strong possession of the mind; but it holds possession by a tenure frail indeed, compared with that of truth. Error is never loved for any ibing in itsell; but for the base service it renders in strengthening wrong feeling and purposes. lo itself it is all along considered and viewed somewhat as the traitor is, after his treason is wrought. Thus it is practically. By putting the simple truth into the youthful mind, then, christians of the present day are not only shutting out error, but they are doing it most effectually, and securing a phalanx of strength hitherto unexampled, which will drive it from the earth. The whole mighty influence of converted sabbath school scholars, will be thrown, with peculiar directness into the scale of the plain precept and doctrine of the bible, as interpreted by common sense and the aid of the Spirit of God, (children know no other guides,) and against every device of vain and far-fetched philosophy. The ultimate results of the methods of instruction in question, bafle all calculation. Hitherto, slowly, and only by displacing error an prejudice enough to bar successfully its entrance to many minds, has the truth gained its victory. The spirit of effort for the spread of religion has often been checked, if not destroyed, by the fetters and manacles of a restricted gospel; thought and feeling have been chained, the vitality of spiritual life deadened, and much, alas! how much, of the water of life spilt on the ground. Now, the 1 ministers and church of Christ are beginning to go right on, under the cheering belief that, in general at least, God will bless his own truth just so far as it is faithfully, judiciously, and prayerfully brought to bear on the consciences of men. This happy state of mind proceeds from the habit of direct reference to the
bible for truth, and motive, and direction. It springs from having early learned what is true, and right, and holy, and from havng the soul imbued with the transforming, vivifying influence of such knowledge.
ART. VIII.-NOTICES OF Recent PUBLICATIONS. Lectures on Systematic Theology and Pulpit Eloquence. By the late GEORGE CAMPBELL, D. D. F. R. S. Edin. Principal of Marischal College, Aberdeen; to which are added Dialogues on Eloquence. By WILLIAM DE FENELON. Archbishop of Cambray. Edited by Henry J. Ripley. Professor of Biblical Literatare and Pastoral Duties in the Newton Theological Institution. pp. Xinj and 102. 8vo. Boston: Lincoln & Edmands. 1832.
The high and well merited reputation of Dr. Campbell's various writings is extensively known. His lectures on systematic theology, make but a small part of the book before us. They are only six in number, and are of a moderate length ; but they are of great value. They do not, indeed, present to the student a system of theology, but they show him how he inay become able to prepare one for himsell. They teach him, not what he must believe, but how he may ascertain froin the sacred scripture wbat he must believe. The first lecture dwells on the study of natural religion, and the evidences of christianity ; the second maintains that the scriptures oughi to be the first study, and that afterwards systems and conmentaries may be occasionally consulted; the third and fourth teach“ how the student ougbt to enter on the examination of the scriptures,' give directions for forming an abstract of christian doctrine and duties, and expatiate on the advantages of the method recommended ; the fifth continues the same subject, and mentions some considerations tending to show how far the study of controversy demands our attention; the sixth proposes a method of prosecuting our inquiries in Polemic Divinity, shows the use to be made of scholia, paraphrases, and commentaries, and exhibits the danger of relying on buman guidance in matters of religion.
The Lectures on Pulpit Eloquence, constitute the principal part of the book; and, as Professor Ripley well remarks in bis judicious preface, they need no recommendation.
" During the several years," he adds, “ in which I have given instruction in the department of pastoral duties, I have met with nothing so well adapted to prepare a student for the composition of sermons. This, however, does not imply that every thing contained in these lectures is indispenable, or is in fact just as it should be. Some may doubt the utility of the author's exact distribution of sermons into the various kinds which he mentions. Some, again, may fear that Sermons executed according to his directions would be like marble statues, gracetol indeed, and polished, yet destitute of living expression. But of what system O directions on any subject, as used by a beginner, may not the same complaint be made? Shall the artist iben refuse to study rules? Shall we have no books on theloric ? - It requires no uncommon share of good sense either in a student or an instructor, least of all in the affectionate pastor, to derive the contemplated
lefit from a system of directions, and, at the same time, to avoid the stiffness scholastic rules. Experience will soon render the application of rules easy ;