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destroyed, and their power, as a people, was annihilated:-the same cause still excludes them from the blessings, other nations enjoy:but, are their present errors, worse than those of apostate christians ?-In their thirteen short creeds, the christian will find many things he will both admire and subscribe to.-May not a want of faith be less injurious to truth, than an excess of it?The Jews, have made no proselytes since their dispersion:—the pretend. ed successors of St. Peter, have made millions of converts since the establishment of the Papal bierarchy, and compelled them to sit in darkness, ignorance, and error :-therefore, the latter shall “ go into perdition," and the former shall again be restored to favour and happiness.
The ground, on which the advocates of the emancipation of the Roman Catholics in Ireland build their arguments is that, on which, they assert, the safety of the British empire rests.- Doubtless, every member of this empire, let him fill whatever situation in it he may, is bound to promote that object, with all his powers, both of mind and body :--but still, men of authority and weight in the country, and particularly men in official situations, to whom the welfare of the state is more immediately entrusted, ought to consider, with deep attention, the measures they propose for this end, and be convinced they are founded in justice, and that there is every prospect of their answering the end designed.—This they always ought to do:for, they may be perfectly disinterested in what they recommend—they may honestly and conscientiously advocate a cause, and yet, after the greatest reflection and consideration, they may be mistaken ;-and that, which they intended for a benefit, may prove an injury.- When questions, that have any thing to do with religion, happen to be discussed in parliament, from the nature of the arguinents and reasoning made use of, it would appear, that a general, or superficial knowledge of the bible, is all that many of the members of it, possess.—A better acquaintance with this high authority, would enable men to reason more correctly upon these subjects, than they do at present; and it would remove a great deal of that obstinacy and prejudice, which always belong to ignorance ; and it would tend to reduce within the limits of a very little circle, those differences in reli. gious opinions, which prevail too much, even amongst the protestants of this country.--The advocate who does not well understand the law, and will take no pains to make himself master of his client's case, is seldom in much repute ; and though he may be able to speak with fluency and eloquence, will rarely have much practice.—Now, it Egypt and the neighbouring countries, were preserved from the effects of a famine, because the government of Pharaoh was under the directing wisdom of a person, who knew the will of God and obeyed it;-if the
affairs of the kingdom of Darius prospered, because his chief adviser and counsellor was a man of inflexible integrity, and preferred the pure worship of God, to all the honors, and power, and emolunients of a splendid court;— can any advisers of the crown, who consider all religions good, who think it a matter of no con: sequence that the worshippers of images, saints, and angels, should have a voice in the counsels of a nation, professing the religion of Christ ;can such men, I ask, by their measures, be the means of the affairs of this kingdom prospering, in the same manner that the affairs of the Egyptians and Medes and Persians prospered, whilst in the hands of the faithful servants of God, who made his will their only guide, and his written law the only rule of all their actions ?-Will God equally bless and prosper the labours of men, who advocate his cause only, and the undertakings of people, who look upon his religion in no other light, than they look at the religion of the Catholics and Chinese :This can never be-for, God is just.:. In one of the visions of the king of Babylon, an image stood before him, “whose brightness “ was excellent, and whose form was terrible.“ The legs of this image were of iron, and the “ feet, part of iron and part of clay.”—Although “this image” was principally made of the valu. able metals, gold, silver, brass, and iron, yet the feet on which it stood, had in their composition some clay, which would sooner or later prove
injurious to it.- Each of the monarchies ropresented by the four metals of the image, restesi upon a basis that was not uniformly solid and strong: and the weak part of it was idolatry.-Hence the downfall of all of them.—Even the kingdom that resembled iron for strength, crumbled into pieces, when touched by “the “stone cut out of the mountain without hands;" and the same stone will roll on, overturning every idolatrous kingdom, till it “rises into a “ great mountain and fills the whole earth.”— England, since it abjured the errors of Rome, has gradually advanced in knowledge, and power, and prosperity ;-and at this time reposes upon a rock, that, on account of its strength, may be said to be of iron.—The friends of the Roman Catholics argue, that it would add strength to the British empire, and increase its 'prosperity, if emancipation was granted to the Catholics of Ireland, and an opportunity was offered them, of rising to the higbest posts of trust in the protestant government. But their arguments are contrary to experience and to scripture;- for the two religions, the catholic and protestant, notwithstanding the assertions of a few individuals, are not equally good ;indeed, some of the warmest friends of the former, can smile at its absurdities, and acknowledge they cannot be defended :—and therefore, if a religion which contains certain gross absurdities, is allowed to be mixed with that, which was given by God himself to man, and consequently most be true and good, then, in the figurative language of the prophet,“ potters' or “ iniry clay” will be added to it, and instead of strength, weakness will succeed, and the fall of the empire become inevitable-If the mixture of “the iron and clay" should be made, and the same catastrophe should befall the British empire, that befell the four monarchies of Daniel, which knew nothing of the revealed will of God, would the people of it have any real cause for impugning the justice of God? England possesses a glorions light, and he who gave it, expects she should make a proper use of it:-but if she neglects to do this, and she suffers it to be obscured or extinguished, the fault will be entirely in herself;-and she will deserve her fate.
It is an opinion of some of their friends, that if the Roman Catholics were admitted to all tbe privileges wbich protestants enjoy, their religious tenets would in no respects injure protestantism;—and they likewise assert, that such a free admission would lead to an amalgamation, that would ultimately destroy all the errors of Catholicism.
With regard to the first of these opinions, I would observe, that we are apt to judge of other mens' feelings by our own: well educated people, whose religious opinions are founded upon conviction, and who possess strong minds, would certainly never be injured by the false doctrine of Rome; but, all protestants are not educated—the religious opinions of all of them,