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DR PHILLPOTTS AND MR LANE ON THE CORONATION OATH.
AFART from all question of Politics, and especially of what are called Party Politics, all men who have kept their eyes open in the light of the Reformation, and enjoy and value the blessing of the Protestant Faith,—that is, true, pure, and incorrupt Christianity,must regard with aversion all sentiments, opinions, and acts, the tendency of which, however remote, seems to be encouragement and protection to Popery. With indignation and hatred far stronger than their fear, and swallowing up their fear, must they regard all measures and all men employed as instruments, either in ignorance, indifference, or wickedness, to restore the reign of religious-that is, of intellectual and moral-"Chaos and old night." They desire to see the human mind unclouded by superstition, free from base apprehensions of the divine government of the world-unsubjected to the tyranny of priestcraft that bows down the soul, even in the exercise of its highest feelings and faculties liberated from most pernicious practical opinions, under whose influence none of the affections and relations of social and domestic life can exist in their natural strength and sanctity. In one word, they desire that man should live in and by knowledge, human and divine. They see him so living, under many deplorable and inevitable drawbacks on his felicity, in Britain, where Reason and Faith know each its own province; and VOL. XXIV.
where, owing, far above all other causes, to the direct influence of our Reformed Religion, of its learned and enlightened and laborious ministers and servants, and of the sacred insti tutions formed and endowed to uphold and foster its spirit, which they have nobly and gloriously done, the People have been saved on the one hand from Superstition that enchains, and from Atheism, (we use the word in its largest sense,) that lets loose human nature to its own ruin and destruction. This we owe to the Reformed Protestant Church.
It is the duty, therefore, of every Christian, living in the open daylight of the true Faith, to take heed that it shall not be again darkened. How it was darkened of old we know
chiefly by the devices of ignorant, crafty, sinful, and most selfish men, who saw that the very majesty and mystery of the Most High might be made subservient to their wicked designs upon the liberty of man's conscience, till, by a perpetual appeal to natural feelings, miserably perverted by the superstition in which their growth had been overshadowed, Temporal Power took, it may be said, the very place of Eternal-the voice of the Vatican was terrible to all ears, as that of old thundering from Sinai
the curse of the creature felt to be the curse of the Creator, and a worm crawling in slime to the grave-the Governor of the World!
But that day, we are angrily and contemptuously ordered to know, is gone by, never to return. And by whom are such orders on our belief issued? For the most part, by men who disbelieve the Christian miracles as mere fables and sneer and scoff at the notion of what is called Revealed Religion being anything else than perhaps at present a useful, and at all times a very powerful state engine. We take them, not perhaps at their own words, for they will eat in their words, on being solemnly challenged in high places; and they will talk hollowly of respect of reverence for religion, and the ministers of religion; yea, even for the church! But we take them on the general tenor of their talk at all times, and in all places, when and where they are not tongue-tied and curbed by the presence of their superiors-the tenor of their writings, when it chances they can write-of their measures—and the men-infidels all-whom they patronise and approve, and, above all, the tenor of their own public and private life. It is thus visible to all who have any perspicacity to discern, or any courage to declare the truth, that such men long for the time, in whose not distant advent they most undevoutly believe, when the Bible shall be no more the Book of the Nations.
From such miserable men-and miserable men they must be-whatever may be the measure, great or small, of their much vaunted and exaggerated abilities and acquirementswho that has received a Christian education, would not scorn himself, were he to stoop to receive any kind of instruction whatever concerning the probable destinies of the human race -whether Popery-perhaps the most fatal of all superstitions-because the best thing becomes in corruption the worst-be on the rise or the fall, the decay, or the decline? Blind in their infidelity, still, like seers, they will keep looking forwards into time-and backwards into time-from the has-been prophesying the will-be,-perplexed neither by the past nor the future,-on the petty Pisgah of their present, and most monstrous Moses's indeed are they, eyeing a promised land, in which human beings will be left free to the glory of their own inventions, and no such sight to be seen as a church, abbey, minster, cathedral! all convert
ed into manufactories! Where the altar stood, now a steam-engine-and for the pealing anthem choral to the organ's deep diapason, the clanking and creaking of machinery turning ten thousand spindles, all usefully at work on the busy Sabbath-day!
Such philosophers as these-and they are all philosophers-and with only a chance exception here and there-can lecture you on the long winds, in a discourse most suitable to the subject and show you how by a difficult algebraical process you may make discoveries in numbers, almost as brilliant as that one is a third of three, discoveries nearly unattainable, they maintain, by any ordinary arithmetical process-such philosophers as these, assure you that in this age, which they, and the like of them, have enlightened, there is no danger to be apprehended from Popish, or any other superstitions. All over the world there is, or soon will be, an end of the power of the priests. What, they demand, have the Established Protestant Churches to fear? If founded on the Rock of ages, they will stand fast for ever-if illumined by reason and revelation, they will be seen through the night from afar-if they who minister in them do their duty; they will be honoured;-and after plenty more vulgar trash of the same sort, all delivered, or rather drivelled, in the same sneer, with curled upperlip and nostril, as if the supercilious and ignorant blockheads were smelling at a rotten egg, they demand of you again, why you have any fears about the Church?
Our answer is, that we have no fear not the slightest fear in the world,' that fools will ultimately prevail over wise men-that is, Folly over Wisdom-yet, nevertheless, we do not suffer fools to open their mouths with impunity. If, on the one hand, they will keep bawling, we, on the other hand, must keep gagging; if, on the one hand, they will keep resisting, we must, on the other hand, keep kicking; and in the midst of all these proceedings of theirs and ours, can' they seriously ask with their eyes, why we are so afraid of them? Afraid! It is an odd way of showing your fear of an individual person or opinion, by kicking the extremities of both. In like manner, with Vice as with Folly. We are not afraid that Vice will tri
umph over Virtue. But, hating, and loathing, and scorning, and despising it, we scourge it back into its hole in the wall, whenever we see its protru ded snout. So, neither are we afraid of the fate of Christianity among hosts, in every nation, of Deists or Atheists -generally cousins-german. But when Deists and Atheists dare to scoff and sneer insidiously at the Christian religion, which, merely be cause it is part and parcel of the law of the land, they do not openly insult; and from hatred to it, seize every opportunity of openly insulting its ministers, especially such as are most pre-eminently distinguished by their zeal and their learning-and then ask us, why we are afraid of the Church, we tell the insolent ninnies, that no fear of the Church is shown in clutching hold, with a somewhat savage face, of a few of its enemies, and knocking their numskulls even against the porch. Everything good and great is given into our own holy keeping by God-his laws shall never be overthrown-but we see, feel, and know, that every day and every hour they are violated. Not then to preserve the laws, which are eternal, but to preserve in men's souls the sanctity with which the laws ought to be regarded, which is often too transitory, is it the duty of all men, who have power and opportunity, to expose falsehood, flog folly, chastise crime, and, on the brazen forehead of audacious Vice, to brand the letters "infamous," that whenever he shows front, he may be known by the scars. Now, no falsehood, no folly, no crime, no vice, which it is in the power of a man to utter, exhibit, perpetrate, or indulge, can be so hurtful to the soul of society as hatred and hostility to the Christian Religion.
We speak now to persons calling themselves Protestants-not to Papists. If they are what they call themselves, they must abhor Popery, and pray that its reign may be constantly contracted, till it finally cease. It is not enough now and then, in some public vehicle or other, such as a fine flaming speech, or a coarse flameless book, to allow and lament the evils that haunt, like so many demons, the darkness of that benighted Creed, while in all their measures, in all their active conduct, they show, under a thin disguise indeed, or un
der no disguise at all, we shall not say, an equal indifference to all creeds, but an inveterate hostility to the Protestant. For who so weak as to be lieve it possible that the same man can, with all his heart and all his mind, and all his soul, love and honour the Gospel, and at the same time hate or despise the Protestant Church? Is he a Dissenter? Then he loves and honours his own Church, and we love and honour him for so doing; for his belief, though different from ours, originates in an enlightened and liberated conscience. He is Protestant from the abuses and corruptions of Christianity, but the others are Protestants from Christianity itself; and did they dare to profess their full faith-and they hope that the time when they may do so is not very far off
they would say-of all creeds claiming to be of revealed religion-let us break their bonds asunder, and cast their cords from us. For do they not set themselves either openly or covertly against all Christianizing of heathen lands-and do they not ridicule the progress of the pure light of Christianity among the corrupted and dark-and while they make a loud outcry in favour of the march of intellect and of mind, do they not, with a shocking inconsistency that shows the hollowness of their hearts, preach liberty of religion to all men-that is, liberty to remain for ever in the darkness of idolatry, and to deliver up all that is holiest and most sacred in liberty into the hands of others-the Bible, which alone can raise up a nation, when lying open throughout its leaves before every eye of all ranks, all the while being hidden beneath the mantle of the priests?
Such persons as these howl for what is called Catholic Emancipation, in hatred of the Church of England, which is the great bulwark of Christianity. Strip it of all dignity-all wealth-all power-and then the Bible, they believe, will become like any other book in a library-be read in the same spirit as the history of any other real or alleged transactions,-nay,read, they hope, as a most wonderful and instructive history of fiction and superstition!
That a very great number of those who clamour about the Catholic
claims belong to this class, you may know by listening to a languid speech
in the House of Peers from my Lord King, or a lively one in the House of Pots from my Jack Straw. His Lord ship's slang against Parsons and Bishops is not the twentieth part as entertaining as that of the Ostler; but it is spurted and spluttered out with equal good-will to, and nearly equal great knowledge of, the Church Establishment. Yet the effect produced, owing to his Lordship's inferiority in liveliness, a quality of great avail both in a public and a private speaker, is very different indeed-the eloquence of the one setting and keeping the House of Peers asleep or ayawn, that of the other setting and keeping the House of Pots broad awake and on the guffaw. Both are alike earnest and anxious for unbridled liberty of religion-as indeed they both are, though we hope, on different theoretical and practical grounds, against all protection to corn. In all political clubs, intermediate between the House of Peers and the House of Pots, such characters are to be heard haranguing in pretty much the same tone and temper, every day and every night; and as the House of Pots generally sits later than the House of Peers, the question being put from the woolsack, Catholic Emancipation has been, many a midnight, after a stormy debate the clerk and the grave-digger constituting the minority-and the schoolmaster declining to hold up his handcarried by acclamation.
Others, again, there are who are totally and entirely indifferent about the whole matter. They go to church, and seeing, perhaps, a good fat, stout, jolly, rosy-faced pastor, in a roomy and strong-built pulpit, preaching away in perfect security, within the four thick walls of a building, with a roof covered on the outside with lead, and in the inside with rafters, and supported on prodigious pillars running all the way round and round, they no more think of danger to the Church Establishment than danger to the Solar System. They look up to the ceiling of the parish church on the Sundays, and to the ceiling of the universal sky on week days, without ever dreaming about what it is that supports either the one or the other and as it is the custom or fashion of the times to be liberal in religion, why then they eheerfully and carelessly acquiesce in Catholic Emancipation, hoping that
neither the Pope nor the devil is so bad as has been represented, and that both will contrive to do their duty, even after the removal of all restrictions from seven millions of the finest people on earth, without any danger either to Church or State.
Then there are hundreds of thousands, we are sick and sorry to say it, of silly people of some slight education, but no talents, who, incapable of forming an opinion, or indeed even of collecting data on which one might be formed, on any subject of the least doubt or difficulty, deliver themselves up,-one following the other, or all leaping and bounding over one another's heads, like so many sheep dogdriven into a pen,-into the charge of the great big blustering leading Whig of the place, who, with the assistance of a few yelping Radical curs, turns the flock, like that woolly people, into the hurdles of Liberalism, which, after all, is a very wet, miry, uncomfortable, and by no means roomy inclosure, and all dotted over with cloven feet. There are they all crowded together, rams, wedders, ewes, and lambs, staring at you or at one another with unmeaning faces, and ever and anon bleating baa-baa-baamaa-maa-maa! This absurd noise forms, forsooth, part of the voice of the people crying aloud for Catholic Emancipation!
In a class very superior to these are to be found, no doubt, many able and conscientious men, who, true members of the Protestant Church, have convinced themselves, either that little or no danger could attend or arise out of the granting the Catholic claims, or that it is better even to run some risk of danger, or of evil at least, than, by withholding the boon so long silently desired, or loudly demanded, to keep in operation what they conceive to be the chief, or one of the chief causes, of the unhappy condition of the Irish people. Many of these most respectable persons are decidedly of opinion that the Catholic claims should be granted, and many of them have only a leaning, more or less strong, to that side of the question. But all of them agree in this, that some plan of securities must be devised and they all allow that there are great difficulties to be encountered in the settlement of the kind and sort of those securities. With such oppo