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to appeal to, for the interpretation of those parts of scripture which are hard to be understood, and which the unlearned and unstable wrest to their own destruction,” and, consequently, they have no right to establish a point of union, by which all Christians may become members of one fold,” and believers in one faith.” The Protestant churches, instead of being collected into one fold, under the superintendance of one shepherd,” are split and divided into an endless variety of heresies and schisms.” They are not one body and one spirit.” They are neither perfect in the same mind nor in
opinion from yourself. Your opinion of them, if judged of by your own principles, is unjust, uncharitable, unreasonable; you have divested yourself of all right to repute any man a heretic, to censure any man for being a schismatic ; you have erased heresy and schism from the catalogue of vices, and said with the false prophet, Peace, peace, when there was no peace.” You have established a system “which sanctions heresy and condemns it; which invites to schism and punishes it, which tells the believer to hear the church, and teaches him to prefer his own opinion, however monstrous and absurd, to her most solemn judgments. Why, a church thus constituted is incoherent and inconsistent; a hulk thrown upon the waters without helm or compass.” —Reply to Dr. Magee by J. K. L., pp. 18, 62. * 2 St. Peter, iii. 16. (*) St. John, x. 16. “ Ephes. iv. 4. * St. John, x. 16. * 1 Cor. i. 10. (s) Ephes. iv. 4.
the same judgment,” nor careful to keep the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace.” They are divided every where, and, as if a change of clime must naturally produce a change of doctrine, they vary wherever they are found. Thus, having no rule to direct him, and admitting his church to be liable to error, every Protestant immediately becomes his own Apostle. Every one follows the weak and fallible guidance of his own limited reason and capacity, which, creating an endless variety of opinions, and frequently of absurd contradictions, is wholly incapable of demonstrating the truth, or of conducting to a unity of faith."
The consequence is, that religious dissension distracts the land; almost every family is at variance within itself: what God and Nature formed for harmony and concord, Religion, the lover of unity, and the promoter of peace, brings into strife and difference. Every year is ushered in with a new creed—every year, some new temple is erected for another false worship to the God of Truth. The wild reveries of a female impostor; the senseless ravings of an itinerant, self-inspired preacher; every crafty knave, or vain enthusiast, who throws the absurd and fantastic wanderings of his mind into the form of a religious belief, is sure to find
(r. 1 Cor. i. 10. " Ephes. iv. 3. " Ephes. iv. 18. votaries amongst Protestants: they contrive to divide what has already undergone a thousand subdivisions; and if Protestantism shall last another century, we may expect to see, in this bewildered country, almost as many creeds as there are Christians.—Is there, can there be unity in Protestantism 2 but is not unity the proud and exclusive attribute of Catholicity? Secondly, The Protestant churches are not holy, because Luther, Calvin, Beza, and other inventors and propagators of Protestantism, instead of being pure apostolic men, and models of meekness, piety, and mortification, such as the ministers of the religion of Christ ought undoubtedly to be, who himself fasted, prayed, and forebore, to teach us to do the same, were directly the reverse. Far from imitating the lives of the primitive saints and apostles, whose doctrines they professed to preach, they every where established a greater laxity of morals, and, instead of reforming the wickedness of the times, only fostered and increased it.” Nay, even the principal champion of Protestantism, does not hesitate to acknowledge in his own writings—as if to confound his followers, and open their eyes to his deceit—that he learned the principal tenet of
(*) For an account of the increase of immorality, as a consequence of the Reformation in this country, see Dr. Milner's Letters to a Prebendary, Lett. 5th.
his new creed, not from the spirit of light and the God of Truth, but from the spirit of darkness and the Father of Lies,” giving heed to spirits of error, and doctrines of Devils,” and thus making himself a real object for the application of the words of St. Paul to Elymas: O full of all guile and of all deceit, child of the Devil, enemy of all justice, thou ceasest not to pervert the right ways of the Lord.” The Church of England is not holy, because it sprang from such unhallowed sources—because it originated in the lust of Henry VIII., was nurtured by the rapacity and profligacy of the ministers of Edward VI., and perfected by the ambition of Queen Elizabeth. Surely a religion which had so impure an origin, which was fostered in vice, “ and which neither improves the piety nor the morals of the people, cannot pass for the work of God:” by its fruits you shall know it.”
(*) St. John, viii. 44. See an Account of Luther's conversation with the devil, in The Faith and Doctrine of the Roman Catholic Church, proved by the Testimony of the most learned Protestants, &c. p. 54; by the Author of the Protestant Apology for the Roman Catholic Church. Dublin, 1813.
(*) I Tim. iv. 1. (*) Acts xiii. 10.
(p) St. Matt. vii. 16. “Even the authors of the Reformation were themselves the first to mark its baneful effect upon the morals and piety of the people. ‘The world,'
Instead of endeavouring to bring our morality into a stricter conformity with the severe precepts of the gospel, and the maxims and the conduct of our Saviour, Protestantism has absolved its followers from many of those salutary restraints and mortifications, such as confession and fasting, which the religion of Christ had wisely imposed upon us for the subjugation of our passions, and as some slight atonement for our sins, through the merits of Christ.— The evil tree bringeth forth evil fruit:—do men gather grapes from thorns, or figs from thistles 2" Instead of encouraging the people to pay a daily public homage to their God in the house of prayer, the doors are closed against them;" and, except on the sunday, when, in
says Luther, “grows every day worse and worse.—It is plain that men are much more covetous, malicious, and resentful; much more unruly, shameless, and full of vice, than they were in the time of Popery.” (*) S. Matt. vii. 16, 17. ° The bishop of London, in his Charge for 1790, p. 11, observes: “Scarcely one symptom of religion ever appears amongst us, except on the Lord's day.”—“It must be acknowledged,” says he, in another publication, “that the present remarkable thinness of our churches on Sundays, at the east as well as the west end of the town, is a proof that the neglect of divine worship is not confined to the great, but has pervaded almost every class of people in this capital.” Sermons, vol. I. p. 212.-Will not the same observations equally apply to the present day ?