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cere, self-devoted, and holy zeal, which those, who know the Irish clergy of these recent times the best, will estimate the highest. Much that they did deserved censure, much required excuse; but as no unfair specimen of their spirit, we shall extract the answer given by one of their body, when a certain noble lord, in the course of an examination, rather sneeringly suggested a doubt as to the duty of proselytising Romanists. We by no means concur in all this gentleman's views; but we think his answer to this question very worthy of being placed upon record.
Q. 'Did you warn them against the doctrines that were preached hy their own priests?
A. Rev. E. Nangle. Most decidedly I did. Your lordship will recollect that I am a minister of the Church of England; and when I received ordination from the hands of the bishop, I solemnly vowed, in the presence of God, to "give diligence to drive away all erroneous and strange doctrines contrary to God's word.” I, as a minister of the Church of England, can have no doubt as to the doctrines of the Church of Rome being “erroneous and strange doctrines,” and “contrary to God's word ;” and when I see the mass, the leading doctrine of Popery, described in the thirty-nine articles which I have subscribed, as a “blasphemous fable, and dangerous deceit,” and in the rubric as “idolatry, to be abhorred of all faithful Christians," I would ask whether I could, as a minister of the Established Church, having received ordination from the hands of a bishop, and having subscribed to these articles, and vowed to drive away all erroneous and strange doctrines, be silent on the subject of Popery? I appeal to your lordship’s conscience, whether I could be silent, and maintain that consistency of principle and conduct which an honest man must ever desire to maintain ?'*
Perhaps no better answer could be given to the suggestion that the Church should lay down her arms. Alter the vow of ordination; destroy our articles; shut up the Bible; and let the Church think of nothing but how to eat, drink, and be merry, and it will be very possible. But the Church of Ireland has been starved and persecuted into the spirit of a martyr; and, thank God, we see no chance of her losing that spirit again.
· Even, indeed, were this possible from any dereliction of spiritual feeling, there is a very pressing consideration, to which late experience will give no little weight. It is M. de Beaumont, who, amidst many false and many calumnious statements, makes this very just observation :- What has the Church to do in Ireland, if it does not proselytise ?' If its ministrations are to be confined to its own existing members, why absorb revenues which may be devoted to the religious education of a whole people, in maintaining the clergy of a part? The law, indeed, has given it to them, but who, in the nineteenth century, thinks himself bound by law? * Achill Mission, reprinted from the authorised Report, 1839, p. 43.
But if, on the other hand, every clergyman in every parish is to look on all the inhabitants as his parishioners; to consider all the Romanists as persons, who have been deluded to wander from their own Church, and must be brought back to it; if the Church resolves, as it seems to be resolving, on the duty of setting, by every judicious means, the truth which God has placed in her hands before all the people, that all may hear, whether they will follow it or not, and those who refuse may be left without excuse; then, indeed, a minister ought to be planted, not only in every parish, but in every village.
If, again, peace is to be maintained with Rome, what need of an extensive organisation, vigilant superintendence, multiplied heads ? Why so many bishops? But if a battle is to be fought, instead of diminishing the commanders, there must be a cry, a loud, repeated, earnest, universal cry from England as well as Ireland, and repeated until it be answered, for more. It is simply this question of proselvtism on which turned all the deliberations, and suggestions, which ended, sadly ended, in suppressing the bishoprics of the church, mutilating her incorporations, plundering her tithes, seizing her property, and proposing to withdraw the clergy from all congregations short of fifty, as if less than fifty souls were not worth 1501. a-year. More than this—abandon the duty of proselytism, and you give up the ecclesiastical basis, which is the safest and most indisputable ground to take against the intrusion of the emissaries of the Pope. They are carrying away from the Church children that rightly belong to her. If she abandon them wholly, and no longer consider them reclaimable, what is to prevent Rome from rightfully gathering them under her wings, or rather, to use a better illustration, under her talons ?
When, therefore, the Church of Ireland is prepared to surrender her claims to be the rightful occupier of her ground, and to give up of the little remnants of her revenues all but what is absolutely necessary to supply the spiritual wants of a population to be picked off by assassination, drained by emigration, stolen by the intrigues of Romanism, and suffered to melt away by the apathy of uninterested ministers,—then it will adopt the principle of non-proselytism. The Church of Rome, through Dr. Doyle, and Dr. Murray, and Mr. Blake,* is most kindly suggesting the adoption of some such liberal and Christian views: whether it will be wise to follow such advisers must be left to the Church to determine.
There is only one conclusion at which, however painful and perplexing, a sane man can arrive. It is that the project of Indifferentism is an absurdity and impossibility. You have tried it in your national education. It has utterly failed. It is only assumed as a mask by Romanism. It is absolutely fatal to Christianity and to the Church, and therefore impossible to be adopted by it. It is as contrary to the nature of men as to the commands of Christianity; and exists only as a silly dream in minds which have no religion themselves, and therefore cannot comprehend the working of religion in others.
* See their Evidence before the Lords' Committee.
This brings us to the second plan proposed for the pacification of this unhappy country. Give up the Church-establish Romanism as the religion of the majority of the people, and all will be peace.
To what extent this suggestion has extended itself anong influ. ential members of the legislature, it would be presumptuous to conjecture. But to a mind indifferent to religious truth, viewing religion solely as a political instrument for maintaining the peace of society, weary of the difficulties of doubt, offended at the unrefined zeal of controversy, and, in fact, “caring for none of these things,' it seems an obvious and admirable plan. Its adoption also is easy, and its accomplishment certain, as soon as the government promulgate it. The way has been smoothed already. A certain number of bishoprics have been reduced to save the people from a just payment—why not suppress the rest? The cathedral incorporations, commonly the last strongholds of a Church, have been destroyed already. The parochial clergy have been so impoverished, that they cannot, as before, supply curates, or maintain libraries, or assist the poor, or support the numerous religious institutions for schools, the maintenance of orphans, the propagation of the Gospel, the diffusion of the Scriptures and of useful publications, the support of their own widows, --burdens, nearly the whole of which fall exclusively upon them; and thus their means of influence must be rapidly diminishing. The landlords are in possession of one portion of the tithes, and can withhold the rest; and unless some wonderful change comes over the spirit of embarrassed men, in Ireland, it may not be long before the government might look with confidence for their energetic assistance in shaking off the burden altogether. The concentration of ecclesiastical finance in the hands of a Commission* will necessarily weaken the energies of the rest of the body. The Romish schismatics have been allowed, without rebuke, to place themselves in the position of an establishment, and assume its titles-bishops, deans, rectors, prebendaries, chancellors.* It would be no new thing to their ears to be told that the Protestant government of England was willing to make arrangements that Ireland should be governed through its priests; and the people, whom they have at their disposal, are perfectly aware from experience, that what they dislike, they have only to threaten—and what they threaten, they will be allowed to destroy. History of past generations would scarcely be required to instruct them in a speedy and effectual mode of relieving themselves from an heretical Church. The whole way, therefore, is clear before us. The Clergy would die out in a few years. The Romish priests would be quietly installed in their place. Controversy would cease, animosity expire, and the government be relieved from its perplexities.
* By the bye, would some member of the House of Commons ask one or two simple questions --How much the Commission is in debt? Why are the expenses of the agencies not included in their returns to Parliament? How many agencies are there? What is the expense of them ? And how many of the agents are relatives to members of the Board ?
We shall hope to be able to speak gravely of this; it is, indeed, difficult at times to do so when contemplating these modern theories of legislation. But that such a theory should ever be entertained in the heart of England so seriously as to require consideration, is a fact sufficiently melancholy to extinguish every sense of the ludicrous.
To proceed then-let us lay aside the one great paramount law of duty, before which, to a Christian mind, all others will vanish. Nations, as well as individuals, have their task laid on them by God. Rulers, as well as subjects, are bound to maintain his glory, and to do his will. And rulers, as well as subjects, democracies no less than monarchies, will one day be called to account for every foot of ground, which they have willingly and neglectfully, either from indolence, or self-will, or avarice, or any other vice, yielded up to enemies of truth, and for every soul among their subjects which they have abandoned to error. But this we will set aside. Let us ask rather, first, when Ireland is abandoned to Romanism, are we likely to have peace, religious peace, in England ? Will a besieged town be one step nearer to its relief by permitting the besiegers to establish themselves within the walls? Do men know the meaning of the word Catholic? It means Universal. What mean you,' says the Popular Romish Catechism, published permissione superiorum'
* If an inquirer will take the trouble to look in the so-called Catholic Directory, we think he will be rather surprised at the array of bishops, deans, and chapters, &c. • Rector of the parish' has been affixed by the Popish priests to their own names over the doors of national schools. It was stated the other day, that the health of Dr. Crotty (we think) had been drunk at a public dinner as Primate of Ireland, where the Archbishop of Armagh was omitted, and in the presence of several noblemen ; and the last new move, and one of no little significancy, has been the emergence of a Roman Catholic • Bishop of London' in the Times newspaper !
(p. 21), by universality of place? Answer. I mean that the Church shall be spread over all nations. Do the parties who propose to establish Romanism in Ireland propose to make the erasure of this article of faith an article in their concordatum ? Or will they raise up a wall between Ireland and England, and prevent all religious proselytism? Or are they prepared to destroy the Romish chapels, seminaries, and missions, which even now are rising up in England ? Or do they contemplate that England, as well as Ireland--in fact, the whole British empire - is to be quietly given up to the Pope, whenever he chooses to demand it, in order to maintain peace?
But England, they say, is safe. It is too enlightened to embrace a system of superstition and bigotry—the spread of reason on every side will be protection enough. Strange that we should congratulate ourselves on a safeguard against those very evils, which we are willing to see without resistance brought down and fixed upon a country, which, if not a part of ourselves, must do us deadly mischief; and if a part of ourselves, cannot suffer without spreading its sufferings to us! Still stranger that we should think the fancied illumination of the nineteenth century the slightest protection against Popery!
If any proof were wanted, how easily the nineteenth century would fall a prey before it, it is our ignorance of the nature of the adversary. Men think that Popery has but one face, one weapon, one attack. Instead of this, it has as many, as there are passions, appetites, and principles in human nature. Its name is Legion. It can adapt itself to every form of society, to every diseased craving of the human mind--courting democracy one day, and despotism the next—now arming kings with a rod of iron, and now blowing the trumpet of rebellion-now deifying its rulers, and surrounding them with all the pomps and vanities of life, and now sending the hermit and the monk to macerate themselves in deserts. With one hand it extinguishes reason; with the other it frets and indulges the wildest excesses of a profane curiosity. It surrounds the humble, docile, imaginative mind with an atmosphere of mysteries; it brings the same mysteries down-to the grasp of the most vulgar understanding by sensualising and explaining everything. It demands unlimited external obedience, but frames elastic formularies to admit of unlimited internal licence. It opens a refuge in the confessional for all those secret, preying thoughts which kill without a vent; and it saves the public shame by sealing them up again as in the bosom of God. It destroys the social principles of man by eradicating domestic ties, and opens the widest field for them in the social organisation of the Church. And if it can sit