« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »
country. While, therefore, we utterly disclaim a wish to abridge the freedom of religious opinion, we cannot belp protesting, as did the reformers of old, against that artful system which is now aiming to incorporate itself with our dear-bought privileges, and to subvert our political rights, through the means of a priesthood who have ever been averse to the spread of liberal principles and free institutions. In relation to the population which is constantly disgorged upon our shores, we say with Dr. Beecher:
• If they associated with republicans, the power of caste would wear away. If they mingled in our schools, the republican atmosphere wouli impregnate their minds. If they scattered, unassociated, the attrition of circumstances would wear off their predelictions and aversions. If they could read the bible, and might, and did, their darkened intellect would brighten, and their bowed down mind would rise. If they dared to think for themselves, the contrast of Protestant independence with their thraldom, would awaken the desire of equal privileges, and put an end to an arbitrary clerical dominion over trembling superstitious minds. If the
and potentates of Europe held do dominion over ecclesiastics here, we might trust to time and circumstances to mitigate their ascendency and produce assimilation. But for conscience sake and patronage, they are dependent on the powers that be across the deep, by whom they are sustained and nurtured ; and receive and organize all who come, and retain all who are born ; while by argument, and a Catholic education, they beguile the children of credulous unsuspecting Protestants into their own communion.' pp. 117–119.
But it is notorious, that the Catholic immigrants to this country are generally of the class least enlightened, and most implicit in their religious subjection to the priesthood, who are able, by their spiritual ascendency, to direct easily and infallibly, the exercise of their civil rights and political action. And it were easy to show, were this the time and place, that they do interfere in the exaction of fees, in the control of children, and in the article of marriage, as no Protestant minister ever did or would dare to attempt; and that a secular influence is beginning to be exerted over the political action of their dependent, confiding people.' pp. 127, 128.
The author has drawn the following picture of the Catholic religion, and we quote it for the clear and strong light in which it presents to us the powerful influences which are at work among us. Let every American citizen ponder well the truth in this matter :
• It is a religion exclusive in its claims, and awful in its sanctions, and terrific in its power of declaring sins remitted or retained. By the confessional it searches the heart, learns the thoughts, and motives, and habits, and condition of individuals and families, and thus acquires the means of an unlimited ascendency over mind, by the united influence of both worlds. It is majestic and imposing in its ceremonies, dazzling
by its lights and ornaments, vestments and gorgeous drapery, and fascinating by the power of music, and the breathing marble and living canvas, and all the diversified contributions of art, -strong in the patronage
of the great, and the power of wealth and the versatilities of art, and unlimited in its powers of accommodation to the various characters, tastes and conditions of men. For the profound, it has metaphysics and philosophy,--the fine arts for men of taste, and wealth, and fashion,-signs and wonders for the superstitious,—forbearance for the sceptic,—toleration for the liberal, who eulogize and aid her cause,-enthusiasm for the ardent,—lenity for the voluptuous, and severity for the austere,--fanaticism for the excited, and mysticism for moody inusing. For the formalist, rites and ceremonies,- for the moral, the merit of good works, and for those who are destitute, the merits of the saints at accommodating prices,-for the poor, penance,-extreme unction for the dying, and masses for the spirits in prison, who, by donation or testament, or by their friends, provide the requisite ransom.
This is the religion so powerful in the combined energies of earth and heaven,--so dextrous in their application,-90 gigantic in its past energies,--so enslaving and terrible in its recorded deeds, and yet in its present appearance, so mild, meek, unassuming, and munificent, which is coming in among us, a comparative stranger,—the records of its history denied or forgotten, or covered by a charity that would belt the zones and span the earth,-coming by numbers to outnumber us, by votes to outvote us, and by the competitions of European munificence, to secure an ascendant influence in the education of the young republicans of our nation.
This religion is wielded by a priesthood, educated, for the most part, in the despotic governments of Europe, of recent naturalization, and retaining the ecclesiastical and political partialities of their country and early associations. Were they allied to us by family and ties of blood, like the ministry of all other denominations, there would be less to be feared, and common interests would produce, gradually but certainly, an unreluctant assimilation. But as it is, they stand out from society, a separate, insulated male ecclesiastical association, with property and interests peculiarly their own; with an irresponsible and despotic power over the consciences, and physical and civil action of numbers, quite too great and influential for the safety of republican institutions, where every thing depends on the free and enlightened action of public sentiment. p. 132–135.
We repeat the question, Will the citizens of this country look with indifference on the efforts of papal emissaries to spread among us a delusion so artful, proclaimed, as it is, by the voice of history, and testified to by so many well qualified to discern and judge ** Where it prevails, it cannot but affect the political relations of a country. In its books of casuistry it is often decided, that no faith is to be kept with heretics, provided the welfare of the Catholics will not be endangered, even when the violated promise involves the guilt of perjury. Are we unreasonable, then, in distrusting the professions of men, novi homines with us, allied to a church which has never, by its head and lawyiver, disclaimed these doctrines, but whose bulls and anathemas are yearly fulminated against free institutions, the liberty of the press, and the diffusion of knowledge? The assertion is indeed sometimes made, that the Catholic church has undergone a reformation, and that it is uncharitable to quote her former bistory, in days of ignorance and pride, as evidence against her. We answer with Dr. Beecher :
* We would especially refer our readers to a work of Blanco White, formerly a Catholic priest in Spain, entitled Practical and Internal Evidence against Catholicism." We liad intended to notice it more particularly in connection with this article, but we have no room now for what we had prepared. We may hereafter recur to it, in the hope of doing it justice.
Who is it then that makes the proclamation, that the Catholic church has discovered her mistakes in past ages and is reformed? Has the pope announced it? Has a general council decreed it? Has the Catholic convention at Baltimore placed it upon their records ? Has a single Catholic bishop or priest admitted or claimed that the Catholic church has been, by the proper authorities, rcrised and corrected in any mulerial point of doctrine, discipline, or practice? Not one,-and no Catholic will
it who has any character to lose or frowns to fear from superior power. The church cannot be reformed as a church only by the pope and a general council. The question of revision and change is therefore simply a matter of historical fact. When, where, and in what respects, has the pope and a general council changed the claims, maxims, doctrines, or established usages of the church? When and where has it been decreed, that liberty of conscience and civil liberty are the birth-right of man,--that reading the bible is the right of man, and not a privilege to be conferred,—that private interpretation is the duty of man, instead of implicit confidence in the exposition of others,—that persecution for conscience sake is tyranny, and the deeds of the inquisition an abomination in the sight of God? What one of her maxims, avowed centuries ago, has she expunged and does not rather enforce to the present hour at Rome and Vienna? What are the powerful principles of collision which now agitate Europe and South America, but those of civil liberty and despotic power? And on which side, when uncoerced, is his holiness, and his cardinals, and bishops, and priesthood ? Every where in Portugal, in Spain, in France, and in Italy, and South America, on the side of monarchical, and in opposition to liberal institutions.' pp. 152–154.
In conclusion,--for we have dwelt upon this topic longer than we intended, and nothing but its importance and close bearing on our prosperity could justify so full occupancy of our pages with it,-in conclusion, we ask, what shall be done? Shall we fold our hands, and sleep over the evil? or shall we arouse to instant action? Shall we suffer the enemy to go before, and gain possession of all the holds of strength, and bar up to us the avenues to the
minds of generations yet to be instructed? or shall we put forth a moral influence which shall be felt in controlling the destinies of our nation? Shall the birth-right of freemen, the privileges of Protestantism, identified every where with the cause of liberty, be handed down to our posterity? or shall they groan in the shackles of superstition and despotism? If the better alternative is to be the happy lot of this fair land, more must be done than yet seems thought of. A simultaneous effort must be made to diffuse abroad among christians a deeper sense of obligation, a higher standard of practical piety, and a spirit of self-denying benevolence, which will begin with regarding all as God's, and never end, so long as there is a subject in whose favor it ought to be exerted. This benevolence must go forth to repair the waste places of Zion, to sprinkle the broad land of the West with schools, colleges, churches, and means of instruction in morals and religion; it must wake up the supine church to hear the cry of suffering millions; it must gather and send out on the mountain-wave its cargoes of bibles, tracts, and its hosts of missionaries, to tell a lost world that Jesus has died, and that there is redemption from its woes through his blood. Out-running the too active emissaries of corruption, it must make its positive aggressions on the kingdom of darkness, and count every day lost, which does not witness some new province of the empire of Satan brought back in triumph to Christ. the church of Christ thus gird herself to the onset, and Pleas for the West, appeals to the sympathies of believers, will be needless. Every form of error will quail and blench before the allconquering Spirit which is in the midst of her; and the man of sin, the false prophet, and the iron rule of paganism, will all be remembered but in the annals of her triumphs, and in the songs of praise with which she breaks forth in every land, “Alleluia, for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth !”
ART. VIII.—COLONIZATION AND Anti-COLONIZATION.
In Inquiry into the Character and Tendency of the American Colonization and
Americun Anti-Slavery Sociсties. By William Jay. Second Edition. 1835. Letters to the Hon. William Jay; being a Reply to his “ Inquiry into the American
Colonization and Americun Anti-Slavery Societics." By David REESE, M. D., of New-York.
Here are two books, of which the first has been greatly lauded as dispassionate, the other inuch commended as forcible; yet if both had been universally owned to be at once forcible and passionate, truth would have been the gainer, and the good which there is in each, might have had a fair chance of separation from the evil. But as it is, the many of the one party, and the multitude of the
other, will swallow the whole of their respective draughts,-often relishing the evil, as there is reason to fear, without even having a taste of the good. It should be said, however, at this point, that although both these books are passionate, there is great choice between them; the passion of one being more dignificd than that of the other: but both are alike in this, that, while written by good men, and embodying, in different degrees, great and valuable truth, they have appeared in succession on the stage, well equipped for performing their respective parts in that great drama of religious war, into which some awful, invisible, and, alas! unsuspected power, is drawing the whole church of God in these United States, with a view to some yet undisclosed consummation.
Look at the drama, and observe bow various the scenes which are enacted, and how universal the theater of exhibition which the great spiritual manager has cunningly chosen. In one part, the general assembly of the Presbyterian church opens as regularly with a quarrel, as with prayer. In another, the foundations of great institutions are laid in metaphysical disagreements. In a third and fourth, venerable assemblies of divines, anxious that sinners should be taught, in the right way, the vecessity of conversion, are impeaching their fellow-divines as heretics. But wherefore? Has a man of them denied, that there is no other name given under heaven whereby we can be saved, than the name of Jesus ? Not one. Has any one denied the necessity of repentance, faith, obedience, love? No, none of these; but one has said, (we quote from common report in the world, and not from the record,) that, considering the relation of cause to effect, as manifest in the visible universe, we are not to gather from the original Greek of Paul, that entity forms a part of the work of sanctification ; and the other has said, that the reason why men sin, and continue sinners, is, that they have a mind to do so. The first of these, it seems, is a hypocrite, as well as heretic, for he teaches contrary to his own logic, as well as the truth; the next is a heretic simply, for he, like the first, utters a sentiment contrary to the bible, and what is more, contrary to Calvin, and what is most of all, contrary to the STANDARDS OF THE CHURCH !
Never was there such a scramble among misers for gold, as there is among men of holy professions for the ownership of right principles and feelings. That is my truth, says one ; the society to which I belong found it out. It is, says bis antagonist, the truth of all New-England,—the inheritance from our fathers who landed on Plymouth rock. But, rejoins the first, you cannot be sincere ; you say it because you must, because it is popular; it is hard, as Mr. Jay says, to believe in your moral integrity.
He is a man-stealer, (says a third,) who holds a slave one week. That (says a fourth) is fanaticism and absurdity ; you are lighting the