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and among other valuable lessons they have learned their own weight in the affairs of both church and state.
Revolutionary principles, springing from the gospel of Christ, have for eighteen centuries been in a continued process of growth, through all vicissitudes generating the means by which to act on society with fresher vigor and more comprehensive force. This spirit of renovation and improvement has not ceased to operate, even during those long periods of apparent suspension in which Imperial or Papal policy has given for a time a sinister direction and sombre hue to the movement. It is still at work, having much done, and being in a condition, undoubtedly, to do vastly more for humanity in the times at hand. We are, perhaps, to feel its greatest momentum and witness its mightiest shocks. This is a revolutionary age in the best sense ; as all the omnipotence of nature and Provi. dence are combined to energize freedom and promote progress. All things powerful and good coalesce to diffuse the spirit of free institutions, vindicate them from reproach, fortify the feeble for their defence, and plead for the injured of
class. The whole civilized world is heaving like an ocean, and the great issues of freedom are working themselves clearly out amid the throes of the storm. The great designs of Providence are unfolding with tremendous import, before which the arrogance of petty monarchy is lost like the buzz of an insect in the thunder-crash. In the light and liberality that begin to distinguish our age, read the following dictum of Gregory IX.: “ There is only one name in the world — the Pope. He only can bestow the investitures of kings; all princes ought to kiss his feet. No one can judge him ; his simple election makes him a saint; he has never erred; he never will err. He can depose kings, and absolve subjects from their allegiance.” A church holding such principles cannot walk in proportion to the speed of all around it. Hence says Francisque Bouvet, 6 Roman Catholicism has vanished at the aspect of civilization. It is undergoing due suffering for the evil of
. having subjected all spiritually to its views of temporal aggran
dizement." Doubtless the Romish church did much good in its day; but it has fulfilled its mission, and has become, in the estimation of most persons, a hollowness, and a lie; therefore, in the progress of truth, all its trumpery must be swept away.
hite, and gray,
“Bulls, pardons, relics, cowls, black,
The great foe of the Papacy is human nature rejuvenated, with a keener consciousness of its powers, catching clearer glimpses of its legitimate career, panting for free action and perfect development. Man will soon learn that there is something diviner than ceremonies or creeds; will recognize in Jesus Christ the only celestial example, the only Master we are bound to obey. The common people are winning a familiarity with grand principles, political as well as religious ; and this kind of knowledge is death to all tyranny. Christianity displays truth and discloses happiness in its own records; and these were given to the church to be spread out before all mankind. Because the Papal prerogatives have been employed in restricting the circulation of divine truth, humanity, instinctively soaring towards the needful light, like a shaded plant towards the sun, has outgrown the pope. Spiritual despotism can no longer with impunity forge fetters for the mind, since man, the indignant victim of superstition, now renovated in spirit and advancing with unshackled limbs, has learned to stoop only to gather up the fragmentary chains that lie shattered all along freedom's 'path, and hurl them at the sham infallibility it has unwillingly too long revered.
The peculiar tendency of the popular movements of this age is to expansion, diffusion, and universality; a tendency directly opposed to the exclusiveness and monopoly which characterize the institutions of the dark ages. The masses scorn an abject position, and are determined to rise from the dust. The many have assumed and worthily fill the posts once restricted to a few; the privileges once sacred to a segment of humanity's circle now are flowing equally round the whole. It is beginning to be understood that, of all rights, religious truth is the property most dear to every man. This is stronger than councils or popes; it is the spirit of primitive Christianity, the divine beauty of which will put to shame the hollow dignities of hierarchical pomps, and pour the splendors of salvation all over earth. The ruling forces of universal empire are latent in her spirit, ready to be unfolded every where ; and, however reluctant the bigoted may be to yield to her sway, the hour hastens when all will be compelled to bow to her sovereignty of soul. The truthful earnestness of the true church of Christ must speedily be crowned with complete success.
“Her weapons, like the sword
But let us remind ourselves, again, that, however great have been the degeneracy and crimes of the Papal church, her monuments of usefulness are numerous, and her example is not only a beacon to warn, but a model in many respects to be admired. With fierce bigotry she may have armed herself with the frightful enginery of the inquisition, and inflicted the most terrible injuries on the bodies as well as the souls of men. But she can never do the like again, even if she desired it, which we do not believe. It is something worse than folly to overlook the fact that the Papacy has participated in the progressive spirit of our age, as well as all other powers. Indeed, the pope of to-day stands in the front rank of national reformers. He has struck the key-stone from the arch of feudal power,
and the whole infamous edifice is now tumbling around his own, as well as many other regal heads. Concerning the commingled excellences and evils of the Papal progress, Guizot, in his “ History of Civilization,” has well said, “ Human thought and liberty, however fettered, however confined for room and space in which to exercise their faculties, oppose with so much energy every attempt to enslave them, that their reaction makes even despotism itself to yield, and give up something every moment. This took place in the very bosom of the Christian church. We have seen heresy proscribed, the right of free inquiry condemned, a contempt shown for individual reason, the principle of the imperative transmission of doctrines by human authority established. And yet where can we find a society in which individual reason more boldly developed itself than in the church? What are sects and heresies, if not the fruit of individual opinions ? These sects, these heresies, all these oppositions which arose in the Christian church, are the most decisive proof of the life and moral activity which reigned within her; a life stormy, painful, sown with perils, with errors, and crimes, yet splendid and mighty, and which has given place to the noblest developments of intelligence and mind."
The tide of improvement is sweeping forward through all Europe with increased volume and speed. A mighty influence is at work every where, tempering the clay to mould great men, true Christians, and effective reformers. How unlike is the condition of things this moment around the Papal throne, compared with what it was only four years ago, when Mazzini complained, in view of the martyrdom of some of his co-patriots, “ There was in these men a will of iron, which only hardened on the anvil of obstacle. They wished to die; they had perceived the great cause which yet hinders us from being free - the want of harmony between thought and action. They knew that the national opinion — the opinion which says that an Italy ought to be — is general amongst us; but they felt that, even to the preseut day, it is only an opinion; that faith is wanting; the faith which compels men to incarnate that which they think in acts; the faith which teaches that life is a representation, continual, progressive, of what we believe to be truth and justice. And this faith they saw no means of teaching in the Italy of to-day, without press, without parliament, without schools, without liberty of conscience, without any thing to render education possible, except it was by example
They wished to set this example; they wished to bear witness; they wished to say to their fellow-citizens, ó See, the belief in an Italy to come, the belief in the duty of action to engender that, is so true, that we step to death for it!' Tyranny, they would say, can stifle all except the last cry of the man who dies upon the scaffold for his faith.”
But not in vain have martyrs toiled, wept, prayed, taught, and died. Their redeeming spirit survives to witness earth's destiny, as, in these auspicious days, it is gloriously working out. Chains are sundering, truth is spreading, shouts of redeemed nations are to heaven rising, and soon, from his effulgent throne, will the sun look down on all the world without a heretic, and the church without a pope.
THE CHURCH WITHOUT A BISHOP.
In the two preceding chapters, we have considered some of the unhappy consequences flowing from an alliance of the church with Imperial and Papal power. But there are evils connected with the amalgamation of ecclesiastical and civil institutions under other forms of not less magnitude. Unfortunately, Protestant establishments present to the world, in the nineteenth century of the Christian era, the most intimate and injurious coalitions of church and state.
We shall be likely to apprehend some of the iniquitous features of this system, while we observe that bishops are not essential to constitute a church, were never designed to exercise lordship over equals in Christ, and are no longer needed to oppress the sacred brotherhood.
In the first place, let us prove historically that, according to the Episcopal meaning of the word, bishops are not essential