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Increasing Influence of the Church of Rome.
ception of such necessity, they go but little, we think, beyond the sense of those even by whom they are thus depressed.
But to come to one of more recent rise. The transcendental scheme of religion, now so rife in our eastern states, and not unlikely to spread far and wide in our country among the educated and refined of the Unitarian name; this is but the last phase, we deem, of that semi-infidel error as it verges towards extinction; it is but one of its necessary transformations, coming on as reflection leads forward the mind to feel for the foundations on which its baseless faith rests, and, wheresoever the mind is honest in that search, will lead it around the reasoning sphere (should life outlast its wanderings) until brought back to the only true resting-place for the weary soul — an authoritative Church with its written law, commissioned ministers, catholic creed, and sacraments of atonement. Thus did Goethe travel around the transcendental circle, through all its degrees of infidelity, till brought back to his original starting point - the Christian faith. We fear not, therefore, this passing pestilence in our land; it is but error fermenting into truth, and is to be met and conquered so far as it is needful — not by sneers nor scorn, for it is the error of a sincere misguided mind — but by a deeper and truer transcendentalism one that transcends things temporal to rest in things spiritual. The gospel alone teaches the true transcendental philosophy—To walk by faith and not by sight.”
One other opponent there is, of a more formidable character, because it is error prevailing by means of the truths it embodies, and that is, the rapidly increasing influence among us of the Church of Rome. That to it is not to be denied the common right to the Christian name, we have already admitted; that it is not to be cast forth of the pale of Christian sympathy by being identified with the prophetic Antichrist, we have already expressed our more than doubts; but still, we do not doubt but that the errors which divide it from the rest of Christendom are more dark and less curable than those that separate any other portions of the Christian name, and that it stands, therefore, at the present moment, a greater obstacle to the advance of true Catholic principles in America, as well as with a more threatening aspect on its internal peace, both political and religious, than, perhaps, all other causes combined.
A few words to both these points. The resistance of the
Church of Rome to true Catholic Church principles, arises not from its administration, but is an essential part of ils nature; it is the false rock of Roman infallibility, on which it has chosen to pledge its existence. Roman and Papal is of its essence ; whatever doctrine is not of that teaching is error; whatever Church not derived from it is in schism, and all such error and schism is fatal and damnable, and this is a judgment of the Church, irreversible, they teach, as God's truth, having been in so many words reduced into the creed of the Church and added as twelve new articles to its earlier creeds by the Council of Trent and the infallible authority of Pope Pius the Fourth. To the Church of Rome, therefore, change cannot come, and yet without change from her false positions, it would seem as if her reconcilement with the Church Catholic were impossible. Our only comfort here comes from faith. Though with man it be impossible, yet“ with God are all things possible.”
Under these contradictory feelings nothing is harder to the right-minded Christian than to use language towards the Church of Rome at once respectful enough for its orthodox truths, and yet condemnatory enough for its unscriptural falsehood. We can hardly speak in any terms of it without either wounding charity or wounding truth. In its apostolic ministry, in its primitive orthodoxy, in its sacraments of grace, we reverence it as among the pillars of that temple which God, and not man, hath builded; but alas for the worm at its heart; its bigotry, its corruption, and its spirit of worldly domination. Yet even these are not the impassable gulf. Not for her corrupt doctrines or practices does she stand at such an illimitable distance from the true catholic Christian ; these might be reformed, or, even as they stand, are not necessarily repugnant to the vital graces and growth of the Christian ; nor yet for her bigotry, as arising from ignorance and false zeal, for this, Christian education, and the light of God's truth, and the exercise of a more reflecting reason, might suffice to alter ; nor yet again, evil and unchristian as that is, is the spirit of worldly domination the insuperable obstacle, for that, too, as it was the growth of ignorance and a dark age, so, too, under the spirit of a more enlightened one, might it stand rebuked and corrected ; not for these, therefore, do we feel constrained to hold aloof from all contact with the Church of Rome, but because she has bound herself by oath never to cease to contemn all other
The true Vision of the Church Catholic.
claims to the Christian name, and, trampling them under foot, to hold all who yield not unlimited submission to Rome, as anathematized, and beyond the pale of salvation.*
But as patriots, too, have we another charge against her. In another light does the Church of Rome in America awaken fears; we allude to its threatened political influence, to that spirit of temporal dominion which flows necessarily from its fundamental error of holding to Rome as the cenire, and the pope as the universal head of the Church of Christ; for it follows, of course, as the first of Christian duties, that of bringing all into subjection to him. But this is a subject too wide to be entered upon at the close of our article, as well as too remote from the immediate work before us, to be here rightly taken up. Some more appropriate occasion will not certainly long be wanting, if the indications of that usurping spirit continue to open upon us as they have lately done ; till then we forbear to stir a question that is not without its alarming aspects to the lover of his country's as well as of his church's freedom ; a subject of no unreasonable anxiety to the thoughtful statesman as well as the true catholic churchman. But we would not willingly close with words that may sound uncharitable; we would rather that our last impression should be one of peace and fraternal love to all that bear the name of Christ, the recognition of brother to every baptized Christian. This sentiment we know not better how to convey than by re-stating our pictured vision of the true Church Catholic — as a temple of God visible on earth, but hiding its Head in heaven, and outstretched to encompass all nations with Christ's atonement for its corner-stone - with the Bible for its foundationwalls — an apostolic ministry for its guarding-buttresses baptism its wide and open, but still only door of entrance holiness, with charity, for its far-stretching aisles — faith its high altar of true but bloodless sacrifice--and love to a redeeming Saviour the kindling fire upon it. Such, in our eyes, is the Church of Christ, the sanctifier of nations, and let whoso enters therein put off his shoes from off his feet, (that is, the defilement and the entanglement that comes of this world's questionings,) for “ the place whereon he standeth is holy ground.”
* We subjoin the three closing articles of the creed of Pope Pius the Fourth :
“X. I acknowledge the Holy Catholic Apostolic Church for the mother and mistress of all other churches, and I promise true obedience to the Bishop of Rome, successor to Saint Peter, prince of the apostles, and vicar of Jesus Christ.
“XI. I likewise undoubtedly receive and profess all other things delivered, defined and declared by the sacred canons and general councils, and particularly by the holy council of Trent, and I condemn, reject, and anathematize all things contrary thereto, and all heresies which the church has condemned, rejected, and anathematized.
"XII. I, N.N., do, at this present, freely profess, and sincerely hold, this true Catholic faith, without which no one can be saved, and I promise most constantly to retain and confess the same entire and inviolate, with God's assistance, to the end of my life.” — Creed of Pope Pius IV.
ART. V.-1. Swallow Barn; or, a Sojourn in the Old
Dominion. Philadelphia : 1832. Carey and Lea. 2 vols. 2. Horse-Shoe Robinson ; a Tale of the Tory Ascendancy.
Philadelphia : 1835. Carey, Lea and Blanchard. 2 vols. 3. Rob of the Bowl ; a Legend of St. Inigoes. Philadelphia:
1839. Lea and Blanchard. 2 vols.
4. Quodlibet. Philadelphia : 1840. Lea and Blanchard.
The novelist who succeeds in creating and describing an imaginary character, that ever after remains in the memories of men ranked among the real existences of the past, both illustrates his own merit and secures his fame. An ingenious plot, with a variety of incident, may make an interesting tale that will occupy the attention pleasantly, and leave agreeable impressions upon the mind. But that these impressions may be lasting, our sympathies must be excited by the characters that are introduced ; and if, when we lay down the work, there is not one of the persons described in it with whom we part as we would do with a familiar acquaintance, the chances are a hundred to one that our first perusal will be our last. Who of us, for instance, does not look
Robinson Crusoe as an old friend, an intimate companion of our boyhood, whose hold upon our hearts will continue during our lives; and who, in awarding to Defoe the high rank that he holds among novelists, does not found his judgment upon the extraordinary merits of the solitary monarch of Juan Fernandez ? Scott, in our opinion, owes his exalted station as a writer of fiction to his success in this
particular. He has peopled the past for us with creatures of his imagination, so distinctly drawn that we can claim to have been cotemporary with them all. And even where Scott has introduced into his works persons who really lived, and with whose actions history had previously made us familiar, he fashions our estimate of them at will, and his pages furnish afterwards the history to which we most readily attach our credence. What was apparently so easy to Scott, has been rarely accomplished by his successors. In the long list of James's novels, and we have read them all, there is not one to which we can at this moment refer as containing a character that has since pleasantly and uncalled recurred to us. All have been to us as the passengers with whom we are thrown in contact in stage-coaches and steamboats, and whom we forget as soon as the journey that we have accidentally made together has terminated.' Bulwer has not been much more successful than James. And we were really afraid that Scott had anticipated all the national talent in this respect for a century at least as a spendthrift ensures future poverty by present extravagance,
when “ Boz” introduced Pickwick and Sam Weller, and last, and nobly and gloriously, little Nell, to the depths of our affections, and placed them side by side with Crusoe and Dominie Sampson, Meg Merrilies and Cour de Lion, Edie Ochiltree and Queen Mary, Jeannie Deans and Dalgetty, for the admiration of posterity.
We know that we are right in thus estimating the power of individualizing imaginary character as the surest, if not the only guarantee, for the lasting reputation of a novelist. To those that doubt on the subject, we would refer to the anecdote recently told by Dickens at the dinner given to him in Edinburgh, of the numerous communications addressed to him from
all quarters when the public began to anticipate the death of little Nell, urging him to reward so much gentleness and goodness with earthly happiness. But we have, in the example of an American novelist, evidence of the truth of our position furnished by a distinguished member of the craft of fiction dealers. Mr. Cooper wrote “ Precaution," which was sadly deficient in originality, and the book was pronounced, by such of the public as read it, to be, in western phrase, “ of no account.” Then came the Spy. This at once attracted notice. In the first place it was national, and appealed to patriotic feelings; but this would not have given NO. XIX.