Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

Nor, was the boldness and spirit of Paul's dcfence of christianity before Agrippa, ever considered as a breach of charity against the Jews, who earnestly tried to have him put to death. Protestants may then safely follow his example, aud defend their religion with the same zeal and earnestness, withont being subject to the charge of illiberality, uncharitableness, or not doing to others, as they would have others do unto them.-It should be remembered likewise, that every person who pretends to have been with Christ, is equally bound to regard and practice his directions and precepts. The members of the church of England, are not the only persons who are bound to exercise the christian graces, humility, meekness, longsuffering, forbearance,—they, are not the only persons who are exhorted “to put away lying, and “ to speak truth to their neighbours.”—These virtues, all christians ought to possess.-The word persecution is often used ;—but, can a word, which properly describes the horrible treatment of the christians under the Roman Emperors, be with equal propriety applied to the treatment, the catholics of Ireland receive from the King of England? The inost consci. entious catholic, and the warmest of his protestant advocates, would hesitate, before they said, yes.—1f the Irish catholics are never interrupted in their worship-if their religious ser• vices are performed exactly as they please, both as to time and place-it their lives and property are held as sacred, as the lives and properly of their neighbo!Irs, the protestants;-their treat, ment, is not very much like that of the christ. ians in the old Roman empire; nor does it mucb reseinble that of the Hebrews in Egypt, to which their public declaimers invidiously, and erroneously compare it:and under these circumstances, a little forbearance, a little christian humility, a little plain truth, wouluk be quite as ornamental to their characters, as these graces are to the members of the church of Christ, who think themselves obliged to endeavour to keep their religion pure and unsullied; and whilst they are tbus uprightly engaged, cannot think themselves deserving the misrepresentations and obloquy, wbich are, with too little restraint, circulated to their disadadvantage.--

It is asserted, and I do not dispute the truth of the assertion, that the catholic religion in Ireland is materially changed froin what it was some years ago ;-it was therefore either wrong formerly, or it is made so now by the change.But what has occasioned this alteration ?-If it is a change, by means of bribery in any shape whatever, it is not worth a micute's consideration.—It is owing to another, and far better cause.--The advocates of the catholics assert, that the religion of the Irish catholics, is very different from that of the catholics in Lisbon, Madrid, and Rome-It may therefore be interred, that the religion of the Portuguese, Spaniards, and lialians, is the same as ever it was; and the reason for this may be, that it is not surrounded in their countries with protestantism ;--and if the catbolic religion in Ireland is changed materially for the better, it is because the strong light of protestantism shines all around and full upon it, and illupices some of the darkest “spots" in it. The acknowledgeinent that the (ai holic religion is changed in Ireland, is welcome to the ears of the protestants—it is a proof too, that continental catholicism will change is affurds occular demonstration, that the papacy is in the high road to “perdition;"_and; the sincere christian is delighted to have another prout, that not " a single tittle of what inspis ration has recorded concerning that event, “shall be left upaccomplished.”—

It is too common to hear the supporters of the catholic claims assert, that the protestant cannot assign a better reason for bis faith, tban the catholic can for his ;-and they next vaun. tingly ask, who shall presume to say he is right :- This question implies, that the laws of God, and the doctrine of Christ, are difficult to be understood.-The laws of God were first made for the most gross and ignorant race in the world ; and yet that stupid nation, even on their first promulgation, never pretended to say, they did not understand them—The doc. trine of Christ was proposed both to the well informed, and the ignorant ;—the latter, gladly heard and received it, whilst the former rejected it, because it wils 100 plain and simple; and because it was the language of poverty, an. “ of one who had not where to lay liis bead' His doctrine cannot be "bared to be under“stood”-it cannot be obscure:-neither can it be difficult ful any man to tell whether le belongs to Christ, or not, if he will only take the trouble to open the gospel :-such a sup. position of difficulty strips the mission of Christ of a great part of its importance and utility.It is a falsehood to say that the law of Gol, giver. as a rule of lite, on which happiness de. pends, is hard to be understood ;-it is a falsehood, invented to make men the slaves of priestcraft, and the miserable dupes of inposture.- This is an evil much to be lamented ;and it is an evil equally to be lamented, that any protestants, who are under the conviction of the truth of their own religion, should think that all religions are good, and that there is nothing offensive to God* in the present religion of the Roman catholics of Ireland the Irish catholic can make the well informed protestant believe this, how much more easily and effectually will he, if opportunity is given him, operate upon the mind of the ignorant protestant ? The catholic bimself, by thus proselyting his protestant friends of education

* So long as the ivory inage stands upon the altars of the Irish catholics, their religion will continue idolatrous, and offęosive to heaven.-Their priests and bishops may defend its position, but God has said, “ thou shall not make unto * thee any graven image."

and conseqnence, affords a strong argument : against his adınission into situations of autho. rity, where he might advance his religious opinions without fear of opposition and with better hopes of success ;—for, the ears of people are always open to the voice of power—and when he says, “I will not exercise any privilege “to wbich I am, or may become entitled, to “ disturb and weaken the protestant religion “ in this kingdom," he forgets, tbat, if his reli. gion is derived from Christ, nothing will excuse his inost earnest endeavours to propagate it; -and, in whatever situation he may be placed, he ought to say of religious error, ‘it ought to be rooted out:'--His declaration is at variance with his faith, if he believes himself to be a real member of Christ's church ;and it his practice corresponds with his declaration, he in fact prefers bis temporal interest, and the welfare of protestantism, to the interest of his own church and to the commands of God-He thus places himself in an awkward dilemma:-he says, I will never renounce my religion, because it is the only true religion ;but, it is the business of the religion of Christ, to bring all men out of error;--and yet, the catholic solemnly declares that he will not attempt" to disturb or weaken the protestant “ religion,” which he pronounces to be a false religion, and altogether heresy.—If he does not exert himself to proinote the cause of Christ, is he a christian ? And if he endeavours.

« AnteriorContinuar »