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proceeding. So heartily do we wish success to the cause of the abolition, to the cause of humanity, and of African civilization, that we must confess our indignation at seeing these high and noble ends perverted to such unworthy purposes; to encrease the emoluments of a few jobbing agents, and to pro mote the influence, enlarge the power, and extend the influence of a self-created party. We would willingly see this good cause entrusted to better hands; to those, who would steadily, honestly, and laboriously pursue the objects committed to their care, neither concealing failure, nor magnifying success; to those, whose prejudice would not miscalculate the means, and whose interest would not pervert the ends of so admirable an institution; to those who, above all, would not make the civilization of Africa a stalking-horse to influence and popularity in England.
The Ninth Report of the Institution opeus a wide field for much thoughtful discussion. To those who are inclined to enter upon the question, we strongly recommend the Pamphlet which stands the seventh in our list, which for the knowledge and ability displayed by its author throughout, and for the new points of view in which the whole of this very important subject is taken, deserves the most serious and unprejudiced consideration.
We cannot conclude our remarks upon this controversy in a better manner than by calling the attention of our readers to the summing up of this excellent Pamphlet, and by presenting them with a just and masterly portrait of the principal actors in this complicated concern; in which they cannot fail to recognize at once the fidelity of the design and the ability of the execution.
"These wild and visionary doctrines, and the projects founded upon them, have chiefly originated with a certain class of Metho dists; a sect who profess superior sanctity, and who, under the influence of strong enthusiasm, act as if they had a right to fix a standard of morality, and oblige the rest of mankind to square their conduct accordingly.
"The leading men among them, have a sort of compound cha racter, and may be described as political theologians, or theolo gical politicians; for their religion has a twang of politics, and their politics have a twang of religion. In the House of Commons they form a party well known by the name of the Saints; who, by adroitly trimming between the Administration and the Opposition, have so managed, when parties have been nearly equal, as to hold the balance of power in their own hands: and have thus acquired an importance, to which neither their numbers nor their talents would otherwise have entitled them. In the distribution of the loaves and fishes, they are said to avail themselves, to the fullest possible
YOL. V. APRIL, 1816.
possible extent, of the hopes and fears of the Minister of the day: and thus to secure an ample share of patronage, for their friends and adherents.
"Formidable as they are, in a political point of view, from their numbers, they have become infinitely more so, from the superior manner in which, like the Jesuits, they have organized a regular system of communication, throughout the kingdom; which enables their followers to receive their impulse, and support their measures, on every political question in which they take a part, with unexampled promptitude and unanimity. On such occasions, they have literally so covered the floors of the Houses of Lords and Commons with petitions, as almost to awe the Legislature into an acquiescence with their wishes.
Although Sectarians, many of their preachers make no scruple of accepting Church preferment; and while their friends in the State promote the interest of their candidates for the Church, their friends in the Church support the interest of their candidates for the honours of the State. At a late county election, one of their popular preachers is said to have openly boasted, (and probably with great truth,) that he had decided the contest by his own personal interest and exertions. Thus their political strength is continually increasing, and is as constantly rendered subservient to their religious interests. In short, they make religion and politics play the game into each other's hands.
"Their evangelical preachers, as they are termed, modestly contend that they alone preach the true doctrines of the Church of England. If so, the present heterodox clergy of the establishment, ought to resign their stalls and benefices, to the orthodox divines of the methodistical persuasion; who probably are looking up to their political leaders, in pious hope of some new Act of Conformity, that may, in good time, eject the present ministers, and seat them in their places.
"As, by the laws of nature, whenever sulphur and iron meet in the bowels of the earth, they occasion a combustion; so, in the moral world, the union of fanaticism and love of power, have a similar tendency. These were the great characteristics of the Puritans, in the reign of Charles the First; when their effects were felt, in the convulsion that overset both Church and State; and these are the leading features in the character of the Methodists of the present day. The Puritans left succeeding generations at a loss, whether most to admire the political sagacity, or wonder at the fanatical absurdity, which marked their proceedings; and those of the Methodists are stamped with the same seal.
"These reflections furnish abundant proof of the danger that threatens our present establishment, from the ascendency of methodistical principles and projects; and yet, by an unaccountable supineness, the friends of the establishment, instead of checking, have promoted them, by joining with the Methodists in various institutions, (entered into undoubtedly for the most useful and
laudable purposes,) and then leaving them entirely under their direction. Such was the case with the Bible Societies, and the Lancasterian System of Education; both which, in their hands, were conducted on such a system as would have prevented the principles of the Church of England from being inculcated on the minds of the rising generation. Such is also the case with the African Institution; which is principally under the management of some enthusiastic Methodists, who pursue their own projects, and publish their own sentiments, under the authority of the high and honourable, but less active members, whose names grace the list of their subscribers." Thoughts on the Abolition of the Slave Trade. P. 229.
ART. VIII. Il tesoro della Devotione, partitamente figurato se condo l'ordine, e le Cerimonie del Sagramento della Penitenza, del Sagrificio della S. Messa, e della santissima Communione. Dal P. M. Francesco Maria Battaglia, dell' Ordine Eremit. di S. Agostino. 1815.
AMONG the arguments urged in favour of what is popularly called Catholic Emancipation, we know not that any have been of late years more commonly used, or more favourably received, than those which attempt to prove the harmlessness of the measure from a gradual diminution in the strength, and alteration in the doctrines of Popery. It is asserted, that the former is become too contemptible to be feared, and the latter so much ameliorated, or rationalized, that very little real distinction exists in the present day between a conscientious Catholic and a sensible Protestant. Could we admit for a moment that these assertions were true, we should still deprecate the employment of them as an argument in favour of the Roman Catholic petitions; it has always appeared to us an unfair and unsatisfactory method of advancing their merits; unfair, because it directs our attention rather to the contingent than the vital properties of the case, and so far misleading our judgment; unsatisfactory, because when admitted as a fact in its full force, so far from setting the question at rest, it only removes the difficulty one very small step from the place where it found it. It remains only for the opponent of the measure, who allows the fact, to doubt of the cause; and though the advocate may consider it as the proof and result of a permanent and radical alteration in the spirit of the Religion: the adversary may perhaps as reasonably assert, that in as far as regards these kingdoms, it is a salutary yet only temporary change attri butable to the very regulations which it is proposed to abolish.' In this state, as every one sees, the dispute is very far from a settlement;
settlement; the spirit of Popery, its nature and durability, come necessarily under discussion, and so the weary disputants enter once more into the very centre of that Land Debateable, from which it was their intention to have escaped for ever.
These remarks are thrown out neither superciliously, nor uncharitably-we feel all the difficulties of the Catholic Question, and however we may have made up our own opinions, we can feel in perfect good humour with those, who still doubt or honestly differ from us. Neither is it our purpose to draw the attention of our readers in the present article to the general merits of the Question. Nothing calls upon us to do so; and it is at once so hacknied, and so difficult a subject, that both reader and writer may be well spared the discussion. Still whenever it is again argued, we are certain that this topic, as heretofore, will be much insisted on; and we therefore propose to examine to what extent it is true, that the tenets of Popery have undergone altera. tion, or approximated to those notions which the Church of England enjoins her children to believe and maintain. For ourselves however as to the main question, we protest against being concluded by the issue of the inquiry-if the Romish Church added all the errors of Paganism to her own, we can conceive it proper to admit her members to all the community of political privileges. which they claim; if she had purged her creed of every objectionable doctrine, still we hold that it might be just to deny them.
In this examination, it will not be necessary to enter into any deep theological discussions; the points in dispute between us are sufficiently popular, and we have nothing to do with the merits of either party. All that is required of us is to examine if certain tenets, condemned by our Church, (whether truly or falsely matters not to the argument) be still inculcated popularly by the Roman Catholic Clergy. It must be admitted too, we imagine, on all hands, that not only the least offensive, but the most equitable mode of considering the Question, will be by examining it with reference to countries with which we have no connection, and where the religion labours under none of the disadvantages, which it has to contend with in these kingdoms. To judge fairly of its movements, we must see its limbs in full play and unrestrained. For this purpose the little book before us is quite sufficient; whether it be well or ill written, whether or not it contain the exact and whole creed of the Ministers of the Church, or the enlightened classes of the community, is not important to the present en quiry; it is enough for us, that it is a book of prayer and exposi tion, published in a cheap (a very cheap) and portable form by an Ecclesiastic for general circulation, and that the copies are actu-· · ally dispersed in great numbers among the people. The copy, which lies before us, was purchased for a few soldi at Alessandria,
and we were assured by the bookseller, that it was very generally used by the Faithful. It may indeed, in every thing but merit, be compared to the Guide to the Altar, and other devotional tracts, which are so important instruments in our system of religious instruction.
The work is divided into three parts; the first contains instruction, and prayers relative to the Service of Confession and Penance; the second to the Mass, and the third to the Holy Communion. It may be worth our while to examine rather minutely each of these parts, and we think we shall extract matter from each, that may amuse and surprise many of our readers. Not that we are about to disclose mysteries; but the majority of Englishmen are, we believe, in great ignorance as to the practical exercises of the Roman Catholic Religion. A very small portion of them, comparatively speaking, have the opportunity of witnessing the performance of those rites; and accustomed to the rational, the decent, and yet the impressive simplicity of our own service, they may well be surprised on becoming acquainted with one which insults the reason, without even the poor compensation of exalting the fancy.
Yet we shall be disappointed, if the surprise of our readers should be unmixed with more serious and worthy feelingsfor in truth the contents of this little volume present a melancholy confirmation of all that pains the traveller's eye in passing through the oppressed country from which it was brought. The pilgrim with his cockle shell, the female prostrate at the shrine, the sinner purchasing an easy and ineffectual pardon in the confessional box, and the aged on their knees in the highways telling their beads, are still every day objects. But that which is more painful and more general, is the blind ignorance of the lower orders, and the heartless indifference of all to every thing but the forms and exterior of religious duties. Even these shows and semblances are performed with a shocking coldness; of the congregation in a Church on Sunday full one half are usually promenading in the aisles; and of the other half, the attention is to be' diverted by the slightest interruption; the lips indeed continue to go, but the head is continually turned round, and this or that object regarded, as if the suppliant had nothing to do with the prayer he offered. It is impossible not to feel at one time disgust, pity, and gratitude; disgust at those who continue to lead their flocks in so thick a cloud of error, pity for those who wander there, and gratitude to the mercy, that has for so many centuries dissipated the darkness that once lay equally heavy upon us, and visited us with the ever flowing day-spring from on high.
The first thing remarkable in the volume under consideration, is the small quantity and slight nature of the proof adduced to sup