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There has been a change for the better, in some 'men from a feeble priest to “the only begotten respects, since the time of Luther, or if the licen- of the Father, full of grace and truth."" tiousness of the priesthood be equally great, it is It may be said that the sanguinary spirit fornot equally apparent. The presence of the great merly attributed to the Romish hierarchy no longer number of strangers who are constantly visiting exists, but be this as it may, there is the same the city may have had some effect in producing a love of darkness, the same complacency in the greater attention to public decorum. In 1829, ignorance of the people; and the great mass of there was nearly 40,000 persons returned in the the inhabitants of all Roman Catholic countries census who were not members of the Roman are as destitute in our own day of all knowledge Catholic church. The ecclesiastics, regular and of the essentials of Christianity as in the darkest secular, amount to about 5000. The ceremonies periods of the middle ages. Not long ago, in a of the church are couducted with great pomp, but certain district of France, the tracts and Scripthere is little to affect the heart or inform the mind. tures distributed by one of the Wesleyan missionaThere is no one to warn the people of their sins, ries, were commanded to be brought to the priest, or to explain to them the plan of salvation by faith who committed them to the flames, and cried out, in Jesus Christ. They have altars, stations, as the sparks ascended towards heaven, “ So pechurches, and cathedrals; incense, candles, ban- rish all thine enemies, O God." ners, and processions; relics, pictures, irnages, and I am still far from wishing to throw back upon crosses ; fasting, pilgrimage, confession, penance, the Roman Catholics their own tenet; they assert extreme unction, high mass, and many sacraments; that there is no salvation out of their church, but friars, nuns, priests, bishops, and cardinals; con- I will not say that there is no salvation in it. I fessors, martyrs, Madonnas, and saints: these are was pleased, in the country towns of Italy, to see the hopeso f the people, and trusting implicitly in the peasantry, when they came to market, enter the merit they bring, they eat, and drink, and die, the church, and placing their baskets by their side, but the sign they make at death is too seldom the kneel down, and appear for a few moments to be acceptable sign of the Lord.
absorbed in silent prayer. There are many who
I trust are building upon the right foundation, The errors of the church of Rome have been though the superstructure they erect be composed among the most destructive ever suggested by the of only "wood, hay, stubble ;" and we know, that great deceiver to the mind of man. They throw when the fire shall try every man's work of what their awful shade over a thousand years, and in- sort it is, “ if any man's work be burned, he shall volve in their darkness a great proportion of all suffer loss, but he himself shall be saved; yet so that have ever professed the religion of Christ. as by fire." The pope at an early period stole the keys of the I was presented by a respectable member of the kingdom of heaven, and he proclaims the fact Roman Catholic church with the translation of a upenly to the world without shame, by exhibiting document given to him by a canon of one of the their forms on every possible occasion; and mil. principal cathedrals in Italy, whom he had conlions of immortal souls might have gained an en-sulted at the instance of a Protestant friend.-trance into the way of truth had they not been The following extracts are in the language of the prevented by this bold assumption of divine au- translator, an Italian :—“There is great rivalry thority. The gate of heaven being thus closed, and jealousy between the monastic orders, but the word being taken away by which alone the the Capuchins are the most popular among the way of access to the throne of mercy could be people...... The Jesuits are leagued with the pope, understood, the popes attempted to array their not for the spirit of worship. but to make him the own forms in the attributes of deity, and set them- head of an universal dominion, at which they selves far above all that is called God. They ex- aim...... The translation of the New Testament acted homage from kings, recklessly trampled on into the vernacular tongue would be very advanthe rights of nature, banished the word of life, tageous. The people are very ignorant, and granted indulgences for the worst of crimes, shed know nothing but the forms to which they are the blood of the innocent, and infused poison into attached by habit and convenience.... The prethe sacramental cup of the Lord's Christ. The lates and other directors of Catholicism measure evil spirits might have laughed at the success of the faith of the people by the deference shown to their schemes, and have thought, that though they the church, and by their voluntary subjection to could not seduce Christ by temptation, nor destroy its form: as to the rest, they pay no regard, and him by death, nor confine him by the grave, they the people are not instructed in their duties.could nevertheless, by the aid of their faithful They make sermons during Lent for the pomp of emissaries at Rome, take away from the earth chatting, but for the most part they are not intel. all knowledge of the atonement he offered to in- ligible to the people. The other sermons are finite justice for the sins of mankind,—the only commonly on miracles, or on subjects that concern power that can bring peace to the troubled breast, neither instruction nor morals...... Besides the forcor cleanse the heart from the polluiton of its sins. ed and cunning interpretation of some passages, But there was one copy of the Scriptures they the people believe in the pope from traditionary could not destroy, one ray of light they could not habit ; but if they were never to hear any more intercept, one mighty spirit they could not chain about him, they would not mind it.” by all the force of their fatal spells, and from the The neighborhood of Rome is one scene of geuniversity at Wittenberg there came forth a cham- neral desolation. The malaria is making rapid pion of the Lord, who, by divine assistance, re progress within the walls of the city, causing the turned the keys of heaven to many cities and ex- silence of death as it advances, and it threatens to tensive countries, and called away the minds of leave this once populous capital without a single
inhabitant, before many more years have been shall answer to seraph, and harp to harp, saying, added to its age. In some parts of the city the " BABYLON THE GREAT IS FALLEN, IS FALLEN : predictions of the apostle are already accomplished: ALLELUJAH : FOR THE LORD GOD OMNIPOTENT * The voice of harpers, and musicians, and of pi- REIGNETH.” pers, and trumpeters, shall be heard no more at all in thee; and no craftsmen, of whatsoever craft he be, shall be found any more in thee; and the The cities and countries through which I passsound of a millstone shall be heard no more at all ed, after leaving Rome, are not connected with in thee; and the light of a candle shall shine no the Scriptures, except as being partakers in commore at all in thee; and the voice of the bride- mon of the general redemption purchased by groom and of the bride shall be heard no more at Christ. It is therefore time that I doff my pilall in thee.” With equal fatality to the papal in- grim's weeds, and lay aside my scallop-shell and terest, but in great mercy to the world, the spread sandal shoon. The history of the past may have of divine light, by means of Bible and Missionary been painful, and that of the present may have institutions, is daily, banishing from some part of brought discouragement, but it is a delightful the world the darkness of Roman superstition, thought to the Christian traveller, that however creating the activity of life as it advances, and it far he may wander, whatever land he may visit, promises to bring the knowledge of salvation to every valley and every hill he sees will one day all who have wandered from the fold of the true shine brightly with the glory of the Lord. “BlessShepherd. Soon shall the sound, already whised be the Lord God, the God of Israel, who only pered by the still small voice of prophecy, be doeth wondrous things: and blessed be his glocaught by the saints, and martyrs, and elders, be- rious name for ever: and let the whole earth be fore the throne ; they shall shout aloud, and the filled with his glory; Amen, and Amen. The song shall be heard “as the voice of many waters, prayers of David the son of Jesse are ended.”— and the voice of mighty thunderings ;” and seraph / Psalm lxxii. 18—20.
The author, ventures to hope that no objections | All this is so indisputable in the view of every will be raised against the importance which he at- thoughtful Christian, that the author is almost taches to the principles of religion in themselves, or ashamed to dwell on such a point. He is persuadagainst the frequency and warmth with which he ed, that no one admitting the truth of revelation, commends them on various occasions to others. would have ever objected to religion's occupying To make such objections is quite another thing from all our best time and thoughts, if there were not condemning the harshness of a transition, or ar- in the minds of men that secret alienation from the raigning a fault in matters of taste. We need only love of God, which the Scriptures lay down as a refer to the constant tenor of the Holy Scriptures, primary fact in the history of our fallen nature, and and the deliberate judgment of the best Christians which is the source of so many other fatal inconin all ages, in order to show that religion should fill sistencies. and possess the whole heart. Surely if any thing. It is very possible, indeed, to err by submitting to distinguishes a merely cold accuracy of sentiment the public eye hasty effusions in which religious from spiritual and vital Christianity, it is this very topics are introduced injudiciously and feebly; and point. It is easy to admit the truth of every doc- the author is far from saying that he may not have trine of Scripture, and yet follow the world, give been guilty of this fault in the present publication. our affections to the things of time, be supremely But without including his own small work in the desirous of the applause of our fellow-creatures, vindication, he would beg leave to say, that misand shun reproach for the name and doctrine of takes in judgment of this nature ought not to be Christ. A religion which seldom appears but on too severely visited. Men make similar mistakes public and fixed occasions, and which mixes but on all other subjects, without incurring contempt. hitue with the habitual actions of the life, is far from Each one speaks and writes according to his mearesembling that holy, animating principle which sure of natural talents, and acquired faculties and the Scriptures are designed to implant, and of powers. Piety does not confer these adventitious which they furnish such splendid examples. endowments, nor exempt from the ordinary con
A mind penetrated with the astonishing truths sequences of defects in them. The paramount duty of revelation, and grateful for the inestimable bles- of connecting the great Author of our being with sings of pardon and grace, cannot be indifferent. the perpetual blessings of his bounty, is not to be Lukewarmness in such a case is treachery. The lightly sacrificed to inferior and doubful questions. world asks nothing more of us than to be tame and The heart which overflows with love to God and heartless in our religion. Gratitude and love to man, though it may incur some reproach for minor God, if genuine, must and will appear in their na- errors, is infinitely more pleasing to God, than a tural fruits. Nor can even a sincere regard to our judgment, however refined, if employed to disguise fellow-creatures consist with the silence on the irreligious principles. things of eternity and the soul, which is now so But the author has insensibly advanced towards much extolled as a dictate of prudence. The a grave and important question, and he almost heart which is at all moulded to devotion, cannot shrinks from the consideration which it seems to but be recalled to its great object by the diversified demand. The truth is, that his small work has scenes which arise around it. And the new situ- excited anew those objections against what is ations and circumstances of a foreign tour will termed in reproach, Evangelical Religion, which necessarily excite, in an uuusual degree some of have in all ages followed the sincere profession of these better feelings of piety and thankfulness. the Gospel. Such objections rest on the funda
The author is deeply convinced, that our danger mental distinction between vital Christianity and in the present day, is not that of regarding God the mere external forms of it. They have been too much, in our travels and our various other answered a thousand times they answer themconcerns, but too little. If we are to “ love God selves, when the mind is once duly in earnest in with all our heart, and soul, and mind, and strength,” the humble study of the Bible. As, however, the the first and spontaneous associations of our ideas author has proceeded so far, he will go on to offer will connect us with Him; and our most familiar some suggestions on the great topic which he is trains of thought will involuntarily lead us to some- quite aware is virtually involved in what he has thing relating to his providence, his commands, been stating. his mercy, his wrath, his holiness, his glory. It is objected, then, that by this warınth in reThat is, the governing affection will in this, as in ligion, and the habitual language which we hold every other case, draw after it all the rest. The concerning it
, we claim an immediate and peculiar conversation with individuals, whether at home or protection of the Deity, and place the proof of the abroad, will accordingly assume the same tone; correctness of our doctrines and practice, not on and the free and unpremeditated Letters written their conformity to the Holy Scriptures, but on under the influence of such a principle, will, and abstractions, imaginations, and feelings; that we must, and ought, to partake of a like character. presume to invest ourselves with a sort of infal