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Title: Popery - The Accommodation of Christianity to the Natural Heart
Author: Hoare, Edward N., 1842-
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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Transcribed from the 1848 J. H. Jackson edition by David Price, email
ccx074@pglaf.org  Many thanks to Ramsgate Library for allowing their copy
to be used for this transcription.



                                  POPERY
                                   THE
                      ACCOMMODATION OF CHRISTIANITY
                                  TO THE
                              NATURAL HEART.


                                * * * * *

                                A LECTURE,
           DELIVERED BEFORE THE ISLINGTON PROTESTANT INSTITUTE,
                       ON MONDAY, 26TH JUNE, 1848.

                                * * * * *

                                  BY THE
                         REV. EDWARD HOARE, M.A.,
                  INCUMBENT OF CHRIST CHURCH, RAMSGATE.

                                * * * * *

                                 LONDON:
                            PUBLISHED FOR THE
                     ISLINGTON PROTESTANT INSTITUTE,
                                    BY
                     J. H. JACKSON, ISLINGTON GREEN;
              SEELEYS, FLEET STREET; HATCHARDS, PICCADILLY.

                                * * * * *

                                  1848.

                          _Price One Shilling_.

                                * * * * *

                           ALEXANDER MACINTOSH,
                                 PRINTER,
                        GREAT NEW-STREET, LONDON.



ISLINGTON PROTESTANT INSTITUTE.


                     President.—REV. D. WILSON, M.A.
                      Treasurer.—GEORGE FRIEND, ESQ.



Committee.

ADAMS, J. FRANCIS.      HEISCH, REV. J. G.      SPURLING, J.
ATKINSON, R. M.         HILL, REV. T. B.        STOGDON, REV. A. H.
BENTLEY, WILLIAM.       LORD, JAMES.            SUTER, E.
BULLOCK, J.             LOVELOCK, E.            SUTHERLAND, REV. JAS.
EDMONSTONE, REV. C.     MACKENZIE, REV. W. B.   THORNTON, HENRY.
W.
ELMER, J.               MARSHALL, SAMUEL.       VENN, W. W.
ESCREET, THOMAS.        NALSON, REV. J.         WADDINGTON, JAMES.
ESCREET, THOMAS, JUN.   OVER, REV. EDWARD.      WESTERN, W.
FELL, REV. H. F.        PAINE, WILLIAM D.       WITHERBY, F.
GREEN, JOHN.            PECKETT, GEORGE.        WILKINSON, CHAS., M.
                                                D.
HADOW, J. E.            POWER, REV. P. B.       WILLYAMS, REV. T. E.
HAMBLETON, REV. J.      SANDYS, REV. J.         WILSON, REV. F. C.
HARDY, JOHN.            SAXTON, E.
HASLEGRAVE, REV. J.     SMITH, REV. E.
                        Honorary Secretaries.
REV. C. F. CHILDE.      REV. R. P. HUTCHISON.
MR. D. HAZARD.          MR. W. PITMAN.
Collector.—MR. LIDDLE, PAROCHIAL SCHOOLS, CHURCH-STREET.



RULES.


I.  That this Society be called “THE ISLINGTON PROTESTANT INSTITUTE.”

II.  That the objects of the Society be to awaken the attention of
Protestant Christians to the progress of Popery; to call forth and unite
their energies in opposing it; and to form a rallying-point, as well for
the defence and promotion of Protestant truth, as for the maintenance of
the Protestant principles of the Constitution.

III.  That the principal means for the attainment of this object be: the
issue of suitable publications; the enrolment of the names or members;
public meetings, lectures, and sermons; addresses and deputations to
Parliamentary representatives; petitions to the Legislature, or the
Sovereign; and correspondence with kindred societies, with a view to
obtain and communicate information.

IV.  That the Society be conducted by a President, Treasurer, Committee,
and two Clerical and two Lay Secretaries.

V.  That Members be of two classes:—

1.  That every person contributing a Donation of Five Guineas or upwards,
at one time, or an Annual Subscription of Five Shillings or upwards, be a
Subscribing Member.

2.  That every person from among the operative classes, who shall be
recommended by two Subscribing Members, be admissible as a Free Member,
subject to annual re-election.

—And that all members be entitled to attend the General Meetings of the
Society, and to receive the Annual Reports, and other publications, as
far as the funds will admit, preference being given to the Subscribing
Members, to whom also the privilege of voting will be confined.

VI.  That a Committee be annually elected, consisting of thirty Lay
Subscribing Members, together with all Clergy resident in the parish who
are likewise Subscribing Members of the Society, with power to fill up
vacancies.  That this Committee elect, either from among themselves or
from other Subscribing Members, District Sub-committees, with a view to
carrying out the objects of the Society generally in the parish.

VII.  That the General Committee receive the Reports of the District
Sub-committees; determine on the admission and annual re-election of Free
Members, in pursuance of Rule V.; regulate all matters of expenditure;
suggest plans for general adoption; and supply such publications as may
be required for distribution.

VIII.  That all publications circulated by the Society be first approved
by the General Committee, and bear the stamp of the “ISLINGTON PROTESTANT
INSTITUTE.”

IX.  That the General Committee meet on the third Monday in every month,
and oftener, if needful.  Five members to constitute a quorum.

X.  That an Annual Meeting of the members of the Society be held in the
month of November, on such day as may be fixed by the General Committee;
when the proceedings of the foregoing year shall be reported, the
accounts presented, and the Officers and Committee chosen.

XI.  That the Secretaries shall call a Special General Meeting on the
requisition of not less than twenty Subscribing Members; that such
requisition be in writing, and specify the object for which the meeting
is to be summoned; and that not less than seven days’ notice be given, by
circular, to the Subscribing Members of the Society.

XII.  That none of the Rules of the Society be repealed or altered, nor
any new ones adopted, but at the Annual Meeting, or at a Special General
Meeting called for that purpose.

XIII.  That all Meetings of the Society be opened with prayer, and closed
with benediction.

XIV.  That it be earnestly recommended to all the members of this Society
to make its important object and plans a subject of special and frequent
prayer, both in private and in the family.

                                * * * * *

N.B.  1.  Contributions in aid of the Institute will be thankfully
received by any of the officers.

2.  As the pecuniary qualification for Membership has been fixed at the
low rate of 5_s._, and as every Subscribing Member receives, in the form
of publications, considerably more than an equivalent for that sum, it is
obvious that the Society can only be maintained by the liberality of such
as can afford to contribute more largely to its Funds.

3.  All the publications of the Institute may be purchased at Mr.
Jackson’s, Bookseller and Publisher, Islington Green.

4.  Parties contemplating the formation of similar Societies in any part
of the country, are cordially invited to correspond with the officers of
the Institute, who will also be thankful for any authentic information
and friendly communication from Societies already in existence.



THE ACCOMMODATION OF CHRISTIANITY TO THE NATURAL HEART.


THERE are two points of view in which every system may be regarded—its
external action, and its internal principle.  We may examine either the
great effects of its machinery, its plans, its purposes, its advances,
and its perils; or we may trace its inner principle, and endeavour to
detect the secret spring by which the whole is set in motion.  It must at
once be obvious that this latter inquiry is by far the more difficult;
for our attention is directed rather to the philosophy than the action of
the system; and we are called to examine the subtle tendencies of the
human heart, which, of course, are more difficult both of detection and
exhibition than the great, broad, startling facts which lie on the
surface of the world’s history.  This difficulty I have seriously felt in
the preparation of the present lecture, the subject of which, is, “Popery
the accommodation of Christianity to the natural heart.”  The subject
plainly requires that we should study the secret working of the natural
heart, and should also examine into the corresponding principles of
Popery, in order to discover their mutual accommodation, and to show how
the whole system of the one is dexterously fitted to allay the fears and
supply the cravings of the other.  Throughout, therefore, we have to deal
more with principles than with facts.  I must ask your forbearance,
therefore, if the lecture assumes a somewhat abstract form, and contains
but few of those startling statements which abound in the history of
Popery, and which are of the utmost importance in arousing the dormant
Protestantism of the land.  But yet, as facts are but the development of
principles, I must ask the attention of thinking minds, and earnestly beg
the candid consideration of all those Christian friends, whose desire it
is to be established in the truth.

In its _outward dress_, then, and _external presentation_, we see at once
that Popery adapts itself to the natural man.  The Bible presents the
Gospel to us in the most unmixed simplicity; the fruits of the Spirit are
its choicest ornament, and the humbling of the heart is its proudest
triumph.  It goes to the unlettered cottager, places the Bible in his
hand, and gives him the saving promise, “Believe in the Saviour as there
revealed, and live.”  In the external aspect of such a system there is
nothing to catch the natural eye; to the man who is not taught by the
Spirit, there is nothing peculiarly lovely in its fruits, and to the
person who is not influenced by his grace, as there is nothing to charm
the senses, so there is little to attract his favourable regard.  But
Popery, in presenting a spurious Christianity, has dressed it up in all
the meretricious ornaments of sense.  It has summoned to its aid all that
may allure the natural tastes, so that if it fail to win the heart, it
may at all events enlist the eye and ear in its behalf.  Thus there is no
natural taste which is not pre-eminently gratified by Popery.  The lover
of music and the fine arts will find his highest delight while he hears
the sounds of the well-sung anthem thrilling through the vaulted roofs of
a magnificent cathedral.  The admirer of architecture will draw a
contrast unfavourable to truth when he compares the noble ruins of
Tintern Abbey with the simple church on the hill side that overhangs it.
The antiquarian is provided with an ample supply for the spirit of
research in the legends, the brasses, the ruins, and above all, in the
claim it sets forth of resting its pretensions on a far-gone antiquity:
while the ignorant and superstitious find all their wishes satisfied in
the relics, the charms, the pilgrimages, the holy coats, the miracles,
and the whole tissue of fanatical deception with which the system
abounds.  The effect upon such minds is proved by the fact, that in those
countries where Popery prevails, there appears to be no room for all the
new schemes of quackery which abound in our own.  The Church has secured
a complete monopoly, and finding that poor death-stricken man is ever
craving after some unnatural mitigation of his woe, has undertaken to
supply his utmost necessities, and to furnish a thousand charms and
remedies to hush his longings, if it cannot cure his ill.

But if this were the only manner in which Popery adapts itself to the
natural man, there would be comparatively little cause for complaint.
There is no sin in an attractive exhibition of the truth, nor is it wrong
to enlist the tastes in favour of the Redeemer’s kingdom, for the Apostle
to the Gentiles was himself “made all things to all men.”  So soon,
however, as the truth itself is modified in order to suit the prejudices
or inclinations of those to whom it is addressed, the accommodation from
that moment becomes sinful in its character.  Now it is impossible to
study the records of Romanism without perceiving that it is perpetually
guilty of this sinful modification.  Thus in different countries it
assumes different external aspects.  In catechisms for the Irish, for
example, it omits the second commandment, while in those for England it
generally inserts it, adapting itself in each case to what it considers
that the people’s mind can bear.  In China the Jesuist missionaries
actually went so far as to omit from their teaching the great fact of the
crucifixion, because they considered that a truth so humbling would be
unwelcome to that proud and self-sufficient people.  The foundation of
Christianity was removed in order to accommodate it to the pride of the
natural heart.

Thousands of other instances might be adduced to show the pliability of
the system.  It is like the camelion, and varies its colour according to
the soil on which it treads.  It will even preach justification by faith
in those parishes where the people have learned the value of that blessed
truth; while, at the very same moment, in the decrees of the Council of
Trent, it levels its anathemas against those who venture to maintain it.
In Protestant countries it will be foremost in its denunciations of
idolatry, while in others, where the people are prepared to bear them, it
will fill its churches with its idols.  In all cases, it accommodates
itself to the existing bias of the mind addressed.

But these things are rather the dress of Popery than its essence; they
form the apparel with which she has arrayed herself in order to appear
before the world, but they do not constitute the real deep secret of her
strength.  They are nothing more than the paint upon the cheek, the arts
which the system has assumed, but are not the source from which the
system itself has sprung.

To this _inner source_, then, we have now to turn our thoughts, and we
have to shew that Popery has founded itself upon the essential truths of
Christianity, but has so altered and perverted them by addition, by
subtraction, and by alteration, as to accommodate them to the wants of
unconverted men.

And here we must just remark, that Popery did not at any time appear
ready made on the world’s platform.  It was not like Mahometanism, which
was constructed by one man, and brought out complete after a certain
retirement from the world; but it was like the growth of a little horn,
commencing with soft and unnoticed buddings, until, as time advanced, it
acquired length and strength, and hardness.  In fact, the process has
been very much that which we see in dissolving views; you look at one
time at a given picture, and at the very time that you moat admire it,
certain lines become fainter, and others stronger, so that after a while
you discover that the whole landscape is completely changed.  You have
had your attention fixed throughout, but the change has been so gradual,
the fading and brightening of the different parts so imperceptible, that
though you now see the lofty tower where a few moments back the cattle
were grazing in the meadow, you are at a loss to decide when the change
commenced, or what were the distinct steps of its accomplishment.  Just
so it has been with Popery.  Men began by looking at Christianity; they
beheld its beauty and admired it; but as they looked, a faintness
gradually crept over its outline; its finest touches began insensibly to
disappear; the lines of a new picture by degrees took their place, till
at length the whole scene became changed, and instead of Christianity we
found Popery; instead of Christ we saw Antichrist exalted in his room.

Our business to-night is to shew that this transformation is the work of
the natural heart when brought into contact with the Gospel: and in doing
this, there are a few general principles which it is important we should
clearly understand in the outset.

The first of these is, that every living man has a certain conviction of
God’s existence, combined with a sense of right and of wrong naturally
implanted in his heart.  This may be deadened and perverted, but it is
implanted there at birth, and has remained amidst the wreck of our ruined
nature.  We do not require revelation to assure us of the sin of murder,
nor could any doubt the duty of obedience to parents, even if there were
no sanction for it in the written word.  Bishop Butler says, “Let any
plain, honest man, before he engages in any course of action, ask
himself,—Is this I am going about right, or is it wrong?  Is it good, or
is it evil?  I do not in the least doubt that the question would be
answered agreeably to truth and virtue.”

A second universal fact is, that every living man has sinned against this
natural law; that there never has been a single individual in the whole
race, who has not, in countless instances, done that which he by the
light of nature has known to be offensive to the mind of God.

A third fact is, that there is within every heart a certain faculty which
is termed conscience, which sits like a judge, and passes sentence on
every action we commit.  Like a sensitive nerve, it feels the approach of
sin, and, unless it be completely seared as with an hot iron, it is ever
sounding within the heart the still small voice of just reproach.  Thus
every man in a state of nature is uneasy; he may endeavour to palliate
sin, and discover excuses for its commission; but he cannot altogether
shake off the sense of it.  A consciousness of insecurity hangs around
him.  He is not ready to die; he has no joy in the prospect of the
advent; and, though he may have some undefined hope of mercy, he knows
nothing of the calm peace of the child of God.

A fourth remark is, that this uneasiness is increased just in proportion
as such a character is brought into contact with the Gospel.

There are thousands who feel the power of the Gospel, but who never know
its grace.  It throws its light beyond the range of its salvation, and
just in proportion as that light breaks in upon a natural heart does it
quicken conscience, and revive the uneasiness of sin.  When the revealed
word is never presented, the law of nature becomes gradually obscured,
and the voice of conscience gradually silenced, so that the uneasiness
begins to die away, and a fatal apathy by little and little creeps
insensibly over the soul.  But when the revealed word reaches the mind,
even though the heart be never new-born by the Spirit, conscience regains
much of its power, the waters of the heart are stirred up and troubled,
and the sense of uneasiness rises afresh with renewed vigour in the soul.
Hence it follows that the sense of uneasiness is always strongest amongst
the unconverted members of the visible Church.  By their outward
profession they are brought into the closest contact with the Gospel, and
therefore, if not saved by it, they above all others are rendered most
uneasy by its holiness.  Whatever effects therefore are likely to result
from this uneasiness, those we should expect to find in greatest strength
within the limits of the visible Church.  Accordingly, within those very
limits, we find that which I believe to be its great and chief result,
viz., Popery.

That men under such circumstances must seek out a remedy is perfectly
obvious, and that there is only one remedy provided by the Lord is
equally plain to the student of the Scriptures.  That remedy is the free
grace of God in Christ Jesus.  Let a man be really brought to believe in
Him, let him be taught by the Spirit to take home the blessed truth that
the whole burden of his blackest sin has been laid on Jesus, and that a
pardon, free, immediate, and complete, is granted to the guilty man who
stands in Christ, so that “now there is no condemnation to them that are
in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit,” and
that man being justified by faith has peace with God.  But then he is
taken out of the rank of natural men, and, by the new birth, he is
separated unto the kingdom of his Lord; he ceases to be a natural man,
and all his peace now flows into his soul through grace.

But suppose this change does not take place, what then?  The uneasiness
still remains, and the contact with the Gospel only quickens it.  The
conscious heart therefore is forced back upon its own remedies, and these
remedies are of two kinds.  The first is Infidelity.  The heart struggles
to get free from the sense of condemnation by clearing itself if possible
from the sense of a God.  When conscience convicts of sin, Infidelity
steps in and strives to hush its voice, saying, “Thou shall not surely
die;” and when the heart persuades the man that he is guilty, he strives
to find a refuge in the soothing voice of unbelief, which pretends to
teach that there is no God to judge him.

But such a remedy cannot satisfy.  There is such a deep conviction of God
in the heart, and such unbounded and irresistible proofs of his presence
throughout creation, that no man can really rest in such a system.  Even
Paine himself, when the vessel in which he was crossing to America was on
the point of sinking, cried out in his alarm, “Lord Jesus, save me.”  And
Voltaire, with all his blasphemous daring, six weeks after he had said he
should die of glory, did die in all the agonies of despair.  The nurse
who attended him refused many years afterwards to nurse a devoted
Christian Protestant, because she confounded a Protestant with an
Infidel, and declared that she never again dare witness such horrors as
she had seen in the chamber of Voltaire.  So it is told of one who moved
not many years back in the centre of Infidel society, that on one
occasion, being seized with severe illness at midnight, and dreading the
near approach of death, the terror-stricken sufferer sent for an intimate
friend, and on his arrival, addressed him in words to this effect.  “I
fear I am dying, and I am greatly alarmed; so I have sent for you to
remind me of the arguments which prove that there is no God.”  A fearful
confirmation of a remark once made by a Unitarian to a beloved relative
of my own—“Our principles are very well while you live, but they won’t do
to die upon.”

Thus there is no real peace secured by Infidelity, as it cannot still the
conscience, and leaves the heart in as much uneasiness as ever.  There
appears, therefore, no remedy left for the unconverted man.  The Gospel
is presented to his view, and the effect is to fill his heart with fear.
If he were altogether to accept it, he would be at peace; or if he could
altogether reject it, then perchance, he might be at ease; but now there
is so much power in it, that he cannot altogether shake it off; while, at
the same time, there is so much opposed to all his will in it that he
will not by faith embrace it as his own.  The only hope that remains in
such a case is to discover, if possible, some modification of the
Gospel—some system which will profess the grand principles so as not to
violate his deep and irresistible convictions, but which at the same time
will so modify those principles in their practical application, that it
may still the conscience without a change of heart, and give him
something that he may rest in as a substitute for peace, while, at the
same time, it leaves him still a natural man, with his heart unchanged,
and his will unsubdued by the grace that is in Christ Jesus.

Now Popery is neither more nor less than this modification of the Gospel.
It retains enough of its fundamental principles to satisfy the conviction
that it is the truth of God, while, at the same time, it so modifies and
alters them in their application to the individual as to still his
conscience, even in those cases where it fails to change the heart.

Let us take a few particulars in illustration of this modifying process,
and let us see how it suits the different phases of the character.

I.  The mind inquiring after _Christian truth_.

It is impossible to give the slightest attention to the Word of God
without perceiving the vast importance attached to the reception of
Christian truth; and it is equally impossible to avoid the conviction
that it is declared in Scripture to be there revealed decisively.  It is
the plain doctrine of the Word of God that there is one way, one truth,
and one life, and that we are responsible for its rejection or reception.
Now, just in proportion as a man feels the pressure of a surrounding
religious atmosphere, does he feel the weight attaching to this
responsibility; and the more anxious does he naturally become to have his
mind settled and his doubts satisfied.  It is true that the humble
believer, being led by the Spirit, quickly finds an happy assurance in
the simple statements of the Bible; but there are many, like Noah’s dove,
who can find amidst the troubled waters of the world no resting-place for
their soul.  Many shrink from the labour of investigation, and many more
from the responsibility of decision.  The truth is not arranged in a
system of dogmatical statements, but lies embodied in every portion of
the book, from whence it arises that men must search for it as for hid
treasure; a duty in direct opposition to the natural indolence of our
nature.  But, still more, faith requires conviction and
decision—qualifications yet more opposed to the wavering and vacillating
tendencies of man.  You see many men in life who appear to have no power
to take a consistent course alone.  If they are led they will follow,
and, perhaps, will follow well; but they do not appear to have the mental
faculty of decision.  Indeed, this power of decision is the
characteristic of great men.  They are not always either wiser or better
than those they lead, but they have this faculty, that they are
thoroughly persuaded in their own mind, and are capable of full and
unwavering conviction of any truth which they are led to embrace.  Such
persons are sure to have a cluster of dependent minds around them, and
others of superior ability are glad to lean on their superior decision.
The fact is, that man is a parasitic plant, and he must lean on
something.  Now see the influence of such a fact on our connexion with
Divine truth.  A thoughtful mind at once discovers that the reception of
truth is of the utmost importance to his soul, and at the same time his
conscience assures him that he is but partially acquainted either with
its evidence or its statements.  What, then, is the result?  He begins to
lean on the judgment of those whom he considers better informed, and to
pin his faith on other men.  Thus there are thousands and tens of
thousands who abhor the name of Rome, who are depending wholly on the
judgment of others in religion.  This is always the danger in those
congregations where there is a beloved and gifted minister.  It is the
case also amongst those whom you would suppose to be at the antipodes of
Popery, viz., those who boast that they are peculiarly men of reason in
their faith.  A friend of mine was conversing the other day with an
Unitarian, and proving to him the clear doctrine of the eternal divinity
of the Saviour.  The man could make no reply to the clear proofs adduced
from Scripture, till at length, when completely baffled, he said, “I
cannot explain those texts myself, but my minister can.”  Could you have
a stronger proof that it is the tendency of human nature, even when it
boasts its own reason, to lean on other men for truth?  Now, from this
tendency has arisen the whole system of Romish infallibility.  Anxious
minds felt the necessity of leaning upon something.  Had they leaned on
Scripture they would have been at peace; but, in default of that, they
required some human judgment.  The first and most natural process was to
lean on individuals, and, accordingly, most heresies bear the names of
their first leaders.  But this fails in giving peace, for individuals
differ, and the authority of the individual is too often weakened by his
faults and errors.  Hence it follows, that these leaning minds are often
involved in perplexity of the most painful character.  Not having the one
anchor, they are driven about by every wind that bloweth.  Was there ever
a system more beautifully adapted to such a case than that which steps in
to the chamber of doubt, and says, “Be still, it is not your business to
decide at all: it is for you, as a humble believer, to believe what the
Church believes?”  All responsibility is thus taken off the conscience,
and thrown on an ideal object, the Church; the indolence of human nature
is at once satisfied, for investigation is represented as a sin; and even
the piety of the heart is called into exercise, for blind reliance is
honoured by the hallowed name of faith.  The whole weight of perplexity
is thrown off beyond the reach of investigation, and by that one stroke a
false relief is given.  There are a thousand questions which ought to be
answered before the leap is taken.  What is the Catholic Church?  Where
is the proof of its infallibility?  What does it teach? and is the
teaching scriptural?  But these it is said to be a sin to ask.  At one
stroke the responsibility is transferred, and the anxious mind finds what
it terms “rest in the Church.”  Hence men often begin with anxious
interest, advance as a second step to perplexity, and then, at length,
abandon inquiry in a blind reliance on what they are told is the teaching
of the Church.  One of the late perverts to Rome said, when a gentleman
quoted to her the Word of God, “I thank God I am not called to perplex
myself any more with the perplexities of Scripture.  I have placed the
interests of my soul in safe keeping, and shall not suffer myself again
to be disturbed.”  She had plainly felt perplexity, and she had found a
false peace in throwing off her personal responsibility.  So there is
mention made in “Milner’s End of Controversy,” of one Anthony Ulric, Duke
of Brunswick, who, having commenced a search for true religion, ended in
writing a book entitled his “Fifty Reasons for preferring the Roman
Catholic Religion,” in which he says, “The Catholics to whom I spoke
concerning my conversion, assured me, that if I were to be damned for
embracing the Catholic faith, they were ready to answer for me at the day
of judgment, and to take my damnation upon themselves.”  As he could find
no Protestants who were willing to undertake a similar responsibility, he
decided on joining the Church of Rome:—showing again how a state of
perplexity leads on to a blind transfer of personal responsibility to
others.

It is not our business to-night to shew the utter fallacy of all such
blind reliance, or to point out how widely it differs from the faith with
which it is confounded; how infinitely more difficult it is to discover
what the Church teaches than what the Bible does; or how such persons
receive without investigation a monstrous dogma opposed to every
evidence, viz., the pretended infallibility of the Church on which they
lean.  My one desire has been to show that such a system is a natural
accommodation of the doctrine of revelation to the wants and waverings of
the natural man.

II.  _Worship_.

It is plain to any man that without worship there can be no true
religion, and the Gospel is a grand scheme whereby God enables men to
pray.  Christ came that we might have boldness and access with confidence
by the faith of him.  His blood removes every barrier, and his Spirit
gives the needful power.  But unless that Gospel be embraced with an
appropriating faith, true prayer remains an impossibility; men may repeat
their prayers, but, like St. Paul, they will never really pray.  Hence,
if a man remain in an unconverted state, he must do one of two things; he
must either give up prayer altogether, which cannot satisfy an anxious
mind; or he must have some modification of true worship.  If he cannot
rise in heart to heaven, he must have a shadow of the throne provided for
him on earth.  Now mark the effect of this necessity.

The first great difficulty in the way of earnest prayer is realization.
The natural man cannot realize unseen spirits.  There is a height and
glory in them beyond his reach.  But yet there is no peace unless he does
realize.  So what must he do?  Me must invent some representation,
whereby to lead on his mind; some image, figure, or effigy, which may
stand before him, in order to bring the object of his worship to his
view, and which may stand as a hallowed emblem, through which he pays God
his honour; he invents for himself just such a system as is described in
the decree of the Council of Trent, when it says, Sess. xxv., “The honour
which is given to the images is given to the prototypes which they
represent, so that through the images which we kiss, and before which we
uncover the head and make prostration, we adore Christ, and venerate
those saints of whom they are the likeness.”  Through the image they
adore the Saviour, and the image is employed as an accommodated help to
assist the process of realization in the worship of an unseen God.

If there were any doubt that this is the true history of image-worship,
it would be removed by the fact that the sin has appeared under the same
form, under all circumstances, and in all ages.  Aaron made the calf as a
representation of God, and said, “These be thy Gods, O Israel, which
brought thee out of the land of Egypt;” and the Hindoo of the present day
regards his idol as a representative of his deity.  A Jesuit priest was
in conversation the other day with a learned Hindoo in the neighbourhood
of Madras, and urged him to embrace what he termed the Catholic faith.
“What is the good,” said the heathen, “of my exchanging one system of
idolatry for another?”  “Idolatry!” said the priest, “you do not mean to
say that ours is idolatry.  We do not worship our images; we merely set
them before us, and adore our Saviour and the saints in them.”  “And do
you suppose,” replied the heathen, “that we actually worship the images?
No; we merely set them before us as a representation of our gods.  No,
Sir; a Christian I may become, but I shall never be a Roman Catholic.”
There was not a shade of difference between the two systems, both having
sprung from the natural tendencies of the human heart.

This identity was on one occasion curiously illustrated by the Church of
Rome itself, for when they obtained possession of a magnificent statue of
Jupiter Tonans, they removed the thunderbolt out of his hand, and gave
him two large keys in its place.  By this slight alteration, they changed
Jupiter into Peter, and transferred him from a Pagan temple to a
Christian Church.  Could anything shew more clearly that Paganism and
Romanism were nothing more than different accommodations to the
idolatrous tendencies of the human heart?  There was no opposition in
principle, and the only difference was between the thunderbolt and the
keys.

What a refreshing contrast do we find in the records of the Tinnevelly
Mission, where the heathen idols have been used for pavement at the
Church doors, so that none can enter God’s house for worship without
first trampling the former idol under foot!

From the same nature has sprung the system of saint worship.  There is
always a tendency to deify the great, and just in proportion as time
advances does this tendency increase.  The man’s human frailty is daily
witnessed by his own contemporaries, and the humanity of his nature kept
in view by visible facts; but when the corrective evidence of real life
loses its power through the lapse of time, the human failures are
forgotten, while the great acts are exaggerated, till something
supernatural is attached to the memory, and the earthly benefactor is
adored as a god.  This is the history of all the tutelary deities of
Pagan lands.  Romulus, _e.g._, was no sooner dead than deified; the most
popular deity of China, Laoutze, was one of the early emperors, and there
is scarcely a nation in the world that has not elevated its benefactors
into gods.

Here, then, is the natural tendency of the natural heart—a tendency in
direct opposition to Christianity.  But, though thus opposed to the
Gospel, it is not necessarily eradicated from the heart of every
professing Christian; and, hence, it has produced within the Church a new
mode of Christianized hero-worship, in which the martyrs have taken the
hero’s honours, and the Virgin is crowned with the crown of Cybele.
There was nothing wonderful in this.  They witnessed the martyrs’ faith,
and met for sacramental communion around the martyrs’ tombs; they knew
their souls yet lived, and they knew not but what they might be even
present.  What, then, could be more natural than that the waiting heart
should begin to adore them?  It was not addressing a Pagan god, but a
Christian saint, and the very prayer was an acknowledgment of all the
great principles of Christianity.  But when once that prayer was uttered,
the Rubicon was crossed, and the principle of saint-worship established
in the Church.  Hence you find the guardian saints and angels of the
Church of Rome filling exactly the same office as the tutelary deities of
the Heathen.  And, as we have just remarked the identity of Pagan and
Roman image-worship as illustrated by the alteration of the image, so
there is another curious fact which exhibits the similar correspondence
between the hero-worship of the ancients and the saint-worship of modern
Rome.  When the Emperor Phocas issued his celebrated edict in recognition
of the supremacy of the See of Rome, he made a present to the Pope of the
ancient temple named Pantheon.  Now this temple was originally dedicated
to Cybele, and all the Pagan gods, and when it fell into the possession
of the Pope, he made as slight a change as possible, for he just turned
it over to the Virgin Mary and all the saints.  The principle was left
untouched, though the objects of the idolatry were changed.

But there is a yet further principle involved in this saint and virgin
worship; for the human heart requires tenderness and sympathy, so that we
can never breathe out our secret burden to one who has no fellow-feeling
with our trouble.  We want the sympathy of a common nature, if not the
tenderness of a woman’s heart.  Hence in Heathen systems you constantly
find a Heathen goddess to whom pertains especially the office of
patronage and mercy.  Even Simon Magus had his Helena in his system of
Gnosticism; and the poor Buddhist, while he looks with awe to his three
Buddhas, has his Kwan-yin, or Goddess of Mercy, to whom he may appeal in
trouble.  Yes! the human heart needs tenderness, and if there is any one
aspect in the Gospel more glorious than another, it is the rich provision
made for this very want.  There never was a scheme so wonderful, or a
Saviour so perfect as that presented in the Gospel.  Glorious in his
divinity, he sways heaven’s mighty sceptre, while, perfect in his
humanity, he can be tenderly touched with the faintest cry of human
grief.  He governs angels, and weeps with men.  But the natural man is a
stranger to this sympathy; yet he longs for it and feels the need of it.
He is exposed to the shocks and buffetings of this rough world, and his
bleeding heart needs a friend who himself has bled.  If he has not
Christ, therefore, he naturally craves a substitute; something which may
give him the sense of sympathy amongst the unseen powers.  And this
desire has gradually run into saint and virgin worship.  It has taken
hold of the hero-worship of the Heathen, and given it a Christian
character by transferring it to the Virgin and the saints.  It does not
do away with Christ, but provides a system of intermediate mediation
which commends itself to the aching heart by the assurance of a woman’s
love and a fellow-sufferer’s compassion.  Hence, if any particular saint
was subject during life to any especial trial, he is supposed to take a
peculiar interest in those who labour under similar affliction.  Nor can
you read much of the adoration paid by Rome to the Virgin without
perceiving that she is the Kwan-yin, the Goddess of Mercy, in the Romish
system.  There is a halo of awe thrown around the brow of the Redeemer,
while the Virgin is described in the attitude of tenderness, “the
comforter of the afflicted,” “the refuge of the sinner,” and the ready
listener to the sufferer’s cry.  We will adduce one instance in
illustration, as given by Mr. Tyler in his valuable little work “What is
Romanism?”  The worship of the Virgin is especially celebrated in Romish
countries during the month of May, and there is a collection of religious
poems used in the churches of Paris on these occasions.  One of these is
as follows:—

    “Vouchsafe, Mary, on this day to hear our sighs and second our
    desires.  Vouchsafe, Mary, on this day to receive our incense, our
    love: Of thy heavenly husband calm the rage.  Let him shew himself
    kind to all those that are thine!  Of thy heavenly husband calm the
    rage: Let his heart be softened towards us.”

Here God is presented in the attitude of terror, while the female
advocate is the sole depository of grace; and the whole springs from the
natural heart, which, under the sense of sin, feels a dread of God; and
longing for sympathy, appeals to a woman’s love.

III.  _Holiness_.

We may lay it down as a fundamental axiom, that there can be no religion
without holiness.  Whatever be our doctrinal opinions, if we be not holy
we cannot see the Lord.  And, accordingly, holiness is the great gift of
a risen Saviour to his Church.  He has shed forth the Holy Ghost to
purify our hearts by faith.  Now, in this Christian holiness there are
two or three leading features to be carefully observed.  (1.) It is not a
plant which grows naturally in the human heart, but is the especial work
of the Holy Ghost himself.  (2.) It consists in a sacred principle which
controls the whole man, and not in any one class either of actions or
omissions.  (3.) This ruling principle is the constraining power of the
love of Christ.  “The love of Christ constraineth us.”  From which
remarks it appears at once that true holiness is from its very nature
impossible to the unconverted man.  He is not under the influence of the
Spirit; he does not know the love of Christ, and he is, therefore,
incapable of that hallowed principle which shall bend his whole mind in
one direction, and wean him from sin by the consecration of his whole man
to God.  Hence, the unconverted man, if thoughtful and conscientious, is
sure to feel distressed.  A holy standard is presented to his view, while
his conscience convicts him of lamentable defect.  He sees there must be
necessity, but has not felt its power.  He sees there must be holiness,
but he knows he is not holy.  He is aware that without righteousness
there can be no true religion, but he sees so much sin within his heart
that he cannot believe himself righteous.

What, then, is to be done?  What is the refuge of the human heart under
such circumstances?  Either he must stifle conscience, which is
impossible, or he must embrace the Gospel, in which case he would find
joy in the Holy Ghost, or he must so accommodate that Gospel as to soothe
his heart without changing it, which accommodation is Popery.  And how is
this effected?

One mode is by _ritualism_.

There are two great classes of Christian duties combined in the formation
of Christian holiness—moral and positive; moral being the general effect
of Christian principle, positive consisting in certain Christian acts.
Now it is plainly in respect to these moral duties or duties of Christian
principle that the natural heart finds the chief difficulty, and the
outward acts of a ceremonial religion are incomparably easier than the
holy dedication of a devoted heart.  Hence it follows that the human
heart is naturally prone to slide insensibly from the principle to the
ritual, and to endeavour to compensate the defects of the one by a rigid
attention to the requirements of the other.  By such an accommodation no
part of Divine truth is professedly set aside, but yet, by altering the
proportions of the several parts, by throwing a strong light on one side
of the picture, and a deep shade on the other, its whole character is
completely changed, and religion is given to the natural man though his
heart is left unsanctified by the Spirit.

This tendency to substitute ritual for principle may be daily seen in
every society.  One thinks himself holy because he has kept his church;
another, because he is a regular communicant; a third, because he attends
daily service; a fourth, because he never neglects to say his prayers;
while a fifth is quite sure that he is born again, because in his infancy
he was baptized; although, possibly, neither one nor the other has
learned anything of true holiness of heart.  Out of this tendency has
sprung up the whole system of Romish righteousness.  The weed that grew
out of the human heart it has adroitly cultivated, till it has become the
strongest flower in its garden.  What under the Gospel sprang up by
nature against the Gospel it has embodied and arranged so as to become a
substitute for the Gospel.  Hence, under Popery, ritual has in many cases
overpowered principle, and attention to ritual religion is made the
substitute for spiritual holiness before God.

It is extremely difficult to produce documentary evidence of any such
substitution, for, of course, it is in no case acknowledged.  The truth
of our charge, however, may be easily seen in the practice of
indulgences.  It is sometimes thought that this monstrous practice has
been abandoned by modern Popery.  But such is not the case; for I find in
the “Catholic Directory” for 1848, that there are eight plenary
indulgences granted to the faithful in the eight districts of England,
and four more for the peculiar benefit of the London district.  Now the
essence of these indulgences is the substitution of ritual for principle,
for the remission of moral sin is promised as a reward to the observance
of an ecclesiastical rite.  Take, _e.g._, one of the indulgences granted
by Pope Sixtus IV.:—“Our holy Father, Sixtus IV., Pope, hath granted to
all them that devoutly say this prayer before the image of our Lady the
sum of 11,000 years of pardon.  Ave Sanctissima Maria, &c.”  So the late
Pope issued an apostolic brief to Ambrose Lisle Phillips, Esq., in which,
amongst other things, he promises “indulgences of 100 days as often as
the members shall recite their appointed decade of the rosary on working
days.”  He promises at the same time indulgences of seven years and seven
lents as often as they shall recite the aforesaid decades on Sundays and
holidays, &c.  It is impossible to imagine a more glaring preference of
ritual above principle.  The guilt of moral sin is remitted as a reward
for the performance of an ecclesiastical rite.

Another clear illustration of the same principle is seen in the
substitution for repentance of what they term the sacrament of penance.
Where you find repentance in the Scriptures you find penance taught by
Rome, as, _e.g._, in Ezek. xviii. 30:—“Repent and turn yourselves from
all your transgressions.”  Luke xiii. 3.  “Except ye repent ye shall all
likewise perish.”  And Acts ii. 38:—“Repent and be baptized every one of
you, for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy
Ghost.”  In all these passages the Council of Trent, Sess. xiv. 2, has
changed “repent,” into “do penance,” and has so made the rite a
substitute for the principle.  Of course the pious Romanist would say,
“We have the principle too, for we truly repent in penance.”  But that
does not affect the question.  The Bible has promised remission of sin,
and connected it with the principle; the Church of Rome has adopted the
promise, but transferred it to the rite.

The effects of this on different minds are, of course, very various.  In
some of a devout and conscientious character, it produces the most
earnest attention to the positive duties of religion, and gives them a
dim gleam of doubtful hope in the unceasing observance of all prescribed
services.  But when there is not this spirit of devotion, it enables a
wicked man to make a compromise with God, and to follow the natural bent
of his natural heart, by attending to the Church’s services, while he
utterly neglects the weightier matters of the law.

In the late trials for murder in Ireland, it was remarked that many of
the guilty culprits were persons remarkable for their attention to the
ritual of their Church; and there was a case at the close of the last
Irish rebellion in which the hour of a murder was thus proved.  One of
the witnesses swore that it took place after the hour of twelve o’clock
on Saturday night, and he was sure of the fact because the murderers were
determined to have a supper before they went on their guilty errand, and
that Saturday being a fast-day, they could not touch meat until after the
clock had struck.  The ritual of fasting was rigidly observed, while the
regard for life was altogether gone.  In one of the jails at Rome there
is a celebrated bandit, by name Gasparoni.  This man, by his deeds of
bloodshed, had desolated an extensive district in the neighbourhood of
Rome, though all the while he avowed himself a very religious man.  Sir
Fowell Buxton inquired of him whether he had fasted when he was a bandit.
He said, “Yes.”  “Why did you fast?” was the next question.  “Because I
am of the religion of the Virgin.”  “Which did you think was worse,
eating meat on a Friday, or killing a man?”  He answered without
hesitation, “In my case it was a crime not to fast; it was no crime to
kill those who came to betray me.”  The man had no true holiness, but had
taken the ritual of fasting as its substitute, so that in the midst of
his murders he believed himself a very religious man.

The same principle appears in the Romish treatment of the Lord’s-day.
The moral commandment of the Most High God is abandoned, and for it you
find in many Romish catechisms the substitute of human ritual, “Thou
shalt keep the festivals.”  And this appears in the universal practice of
Romish countries.  They appear to regard it as a duty to attend mass, but
that once done, the whole day is devoted to amusement.  The rite is
observed, and the conscience satisfied, so that the unregenerate heart is
left at full liberty to pursue its own course, and take its pleasure on
the Lord’s holy day.  Thus the same persons who are engaged in the utmost
apparent devotion at mass in the morning are found in throngs in the
dissolute French theatre at night.  “Attend to the Church’s rites and
live as you please,” appears to be the maxim of their morality.

You perceive the same thing in Romish literature.  It has been one of the
characteristics of the late movement toward Rome that amongst its most
devoted followers it has let loose the spirit of the world.  You will
observe, for example, in Burns’s Catalogue the strangest possible mixture
of ritualism and worldliness, and will see the book of Romish devotion
placed side by ride with the wild German love story.

Thus has Popery taken hold of the great grand gift of Christianity, and
presented it to its votaries in a form accommodated to human nature.  It
does not deny the necessity of holiness, but it so transforms its
character that the unholy man may think he has attained it, and the
Italian murderer conscientiously believe himself religious.

A second substitution for true holiness is _asceticism_: according to
which system the unholy heart finds its refuge in a separation from
ordinary men.  Christianity carries holiness into life, asceticism takes
the hermit out of it.  But yet it is perfectly natural that men should
seek such a refuge.  When they feel the burden of sin, and experience the
temptations of a surrounding world, it is no wonder that they should seek
a remedy in a complete retirement from its influence.  To give themselves
up to fasting, penance, and solitary communion with God, must lead, they
very naturally argue, to the enjoyment of more holy peace than they can
hope to find in the midst of the duties and varied engagements of
society.  Hence every false faith has produced its devotees.  Under
different systems they have assumed a different character, but in all the
principle is the same.  The Hindoo separates himself from the world, and
stands with his arm erect till it becomes stiffened into a fixed
position; while the Buddhist and the Romanist retire to the convent that
they may there withdraw from the world, and devote themselves wholly to
spiritual exercises and to God.  But though this is natural, it is a mere
accommodation.  The real evil of the human heart is not corrected by the
change, nor have the hair shirt and the leathern girdle the slightest
influence in controlling the corrupt passions of the nature.  There may
be as much pride, self-righteousness, and ill-governed temper in the
lonely hermit’s cheerless cell, as in the deep current of the world’s
society.  At the same time it is an accommodation, for it employs the
name of Christ, and gives the semblance of a very elevated piety.  It
adopts the language of devotion, and prescribes a course of action and
self-denial.  It gives the inquirer something to do, and something to
bear; it separates him also from other men, and so, though his heart be
not purified, it gives him the hope that he is holy.  This was remarkably
seen in the case of Ignatius Loyola.  Like Luther, he was awakened to a
deep sense of sin, and it is a remarkable fact that the two greatest
phenomena of the sixteenth century, the Reformation, and Jesuitism,
should have sprung out of the same uneasiness for sin.  Luther found
peace through the blood of the Lamb, and holiness in the work of the
Spirit; Loyola was as much distressed as he, and failing in his discovery
of Christ, he took refuge in the substitute of an ascetic life.  He tore
himself away from his kindred and father’s house, determining to undergo
penances of the severest character, and to serve God in Jerusalem.  He
hung up his shield before an image of the Virgin, and, having clothed
himself in coarse raiment, he stood before it for whole nights with his
pilgrim’s staff in his hand.  At Manresa he passed seven hours daily on
his knees, and scourged himself regularly thrice a-day.  He devoted three
whole days to making a general confession for sin, but the more he
explored the depths of his heart, the more painful were the doubts which
assailed him.  Having read in some of the fathers that God had been moved
to compassion by a total abstinence from food, he remained from Sunday to
Sunday without tasting anything, and at last only broke his fast in
obedience to the positive injunctions of his confessor.

Such were the efforts of a master mind, to create for itself an
artificial holiness, and such are the principles more or less involved in
the whole system of the monasticism of Rome.  It substitutes devotion of
act, which withdraws men from their appointed sphere, for devotion of
heart which glorifies God in its varied duties: and thus presents a
spurious holiness within reach of unconverted minds.

IV.  But the great root of the matter yet remains in the craving of the
soul for _Reconciliation_.

That there is this craving none can deny.  It is seen in all classes, in
all nations.  Buddhists, Hindoos, Mussulmen, Jews, Protestants,
Romanists, and even Infidels, all bear testimony to a certain undefined
longing after peace.  Now this peace is given by the Gospel, in the free,
full justification of the believer through the perfect atonement and
imputed righteousness of the Lord.  But in the practical application of
it to the heart there arises this difficulty.  Our safety depends on an
invisible union with an invisible Redeemer.  Faith is not a thing which
can be seen and felt.  It looks away from self to Christ, and disappears
as soon as you look back on self to find it.  Now if a man be enabled by
the Holy Ghost to look simply to Christ, this difficulty vanishes through
the all-sufficiency of the one object there presented to his view.  But
if, on the other hand, this faith be wanting, and the freedom of Divine
grace remain unknown, the human heart at once makes an effort for some
visible, tangible mode of laying hold of acceptance in Christ Jesus.  The
system, therefore, best accommodated to the natural man would be one
which embraced all the rich promises of the Gospel, but connected them
with something which could be said or done, so leaving men in no doubt as
to their position.

Now this desire is exactly met by the Church of Rome.  It presents its
pardon in a tangible, visible form, and it leads the soul to rest for its
assurance upon something safely done.  The sin is confessed, the penance
performed, the absolution pronounced, and there the matter ends.  The
guilty man has no further occasion to distress his mind upon the subject.
The language of the catechism of the Council of Trent is very curious as
illustrating the endeavour to connect pardon with a visible act.  It
first draws the distinction between the inward disposition of repentance
and the outward act of penance, and adds, § 13, “That it is the outward
penance in which the sacrament consists, and which contains certain
external actions, which _are subjects of sense_ through which the inner
feelings of the mind are manifest.”  The next section explains the reason
why the sacrament of penance is said to have been instituted, viz., to
assure us of our pardon, for without it, “there must have been most
anxious suspense of mind respecting _inward repentance_, since every man
would have had good reason to doubt his own judgment in those things
which he was doing.”  To avoid this anxiety, therefore, the pardon is
connected with a visible act.  It is found, accordingly, in practical
life, that the priest’s absolution is regarded by the Romanist in the
same light as God’s forgiveness, and that, whatever be the state of
heart, that visible act is deemed sufficient.  Pat Burns, now a devoted
Scripture Reader under the Irish Society, was for ten years the leader of
a desperate gang of Ribbandmen, and he told a friend of mine that during
that time he frequently went to the priest, paid him all dues regularly,
and obtained absolution from time to time, as his conscience felt uneasy
after the commission of crime; that the priest generally put a penance
upon him, and that when it was performed, he considered himself as good a
man as any other, and as fit for heaven.  This same person added that the
priest had never once directed him to the Word of God, or to the Lord
Jesus for salvation.

The same connexion between confession and reconciliation was curiously
illustrated by the following fact.  The priest in my friend’s parish gave
nothing during the late contribution towards Irish distress, but the poor
creatures excused his penuriousness on the plea that it was unlucky to
take a priest’s money—that a priest’s money being paid at confession and
absolution, is the price of sin, and often comes from murderers and other
bad characters, as the price of absolution and pardon; and if, therefore,
you buy a horse with it, he will get lame; and if you buy seed corn it
will be blighted.

I am perfectly aware that it may be justly argued that these facts among
the people do not prove that the principle has been adopted by the
Church; but I think it must also be admitted that they do show how
exactly suited to the natural man is the connexion which Rome does assert
between the pardon of sin and certain visible actions amongst men.  God
connects his pardon with a deep seated spiritual faith.  The human heart
says, “Let me do something.  Let me work it out.  Let me have some
assurance that I am forgiven.”  Popery steps in, and adapts its
principles to both, asserting on the one hand the necessity of faith, but
prescribing on the other a certain penance, and then sealing the whole
with the priest’s absolution, so as to leave no doubt on the sinner’s
mind.  According to the language of a late pervert, the priest “shewed
her how she must unite her sacrifice with the holy atoning blood of
Christ, and then in his name pardoned and blessed her.  Thus sin had not
been suffered to remain upon her soul.”  See how the Gospel was retained,
and at the same time accommodated to the natural cravings of the anxious
heart.  The atoning blood was preached, but the act of penance received
with it, so as to give it a tangible application.

But this accommodation fails in giving lasting peace.  Nothing, in short,
can really satisfy but the atoning blood of Christ _alone_, and to this
failure may be traced the whole tissue of Romish rites.  Penances,
absolutions, masses, holy waters, holy pilgrimages, holy retreats, and,
last of all, extreme unction, are nothing more than fresh efforts to
satisfy the heart; and, though all be combined, they are all found
insufficient.  There are, we know, true believers, who, though trammelled
by the system, yet rise above it to Christ; and there are others, again,
whose conscience is so deadened that they live at ease in Zion; but for
conscientious anxious souls the means are insufficient, and anxious fears
keep rising up within the heart.  From these remaining doubts has arisen
the last crowning accommodation in the system, namely, purgatory.

In former days I used to wonder what could be the attraction of the
doctrine of purgatory, more especially when I found that there was
scarcely any portion of the system which persons embraced with equal
readiness.  It is said of it in the catechism of the Council of Trent,
“Besides hell there is a fire of purgatory, in which the souls of the
pious being tormented for a definite time, expiate their sin; that so an
entrance may be opened to them into the eternal country, into which
nothing defiled can enter.”  Now it may be fairly asked from what
principle in the human heart can such a decree have sprung?  We can
understand men cheerfully performing penance, and craving the absolution
of the priest.  But what can make a pious soul desire to be burnt up in
purgatory?  It is not merely a heavenly purification of the ransomed
spirit to prepare it sweetly for the rich enjoyments of the kingdom, but
it is a burning in the fire, and that, strange to say, is the peculiar
privilege of pious souls.  Can anything be more extraordinary?  And yet,
when you consider it, can anything be more simple?  Just take the case of
one of these anxious minds, of which we have been speaking.  He has been
going about to establish his own righteousness, but his heart is not
holy.  He has endeavoured to unite his sacrifice of penance with the
atoning blood of Christ, and he has received the priest’s pardon, but yet
sin remains.  There it is, eating into his heart’s peace, and cleaving
like a leprosy to his soul.  And now death approaches, the delusions of
the lower world begin to vanish, and then comes the question, Is sin
forgiven?  He has received his last viaticum.  Still, is he safe?  He has
man’s absolution.  Has he God’s pardon?  He has performed his penance.
Is sin fully expiated?  Oh, that we could point him at once to the simple
sufficiency of the Lamb’s most precious blood!  But in default of that,
what must be done?  There must be a further accommodation of
Christianity.  The heart tells him that his own penance has been
insufficient, so the work of expiation must be carried out beyond the
grave.  His conscience whispers that he is not yet prepared to die, so he
clings readily to the hope that something may still be done, that
complete preparation here on earth is not needful, for that an
intermediate state is to follow, in which, though unprepared at his dying
hour, he may yet be made meet for the kingdom of the saints.

Or take the case of another character, the man who has spent his life in
neglect of God.  In the day of health he has been occupied with the
world’s interests, and been enabled to stave off the great question of
his soul’s salvation.  But now the great enemy is upon him, the day of
account is near, and the Judge must be met in judgment.  Under such
circumstances, a man will give anything for time.  If possible, time
here; but if that is impossible, time hereafter: at all events, time.  He
will do anything to stave off the great decision,—he will grasp anything
that postpones the necessity of preparation.  From this mind arises the
hope amongst all classes, of doing something for the dead.  I was once
charged myself with carelessness as to men’s salvation, because a certain
dead body was not carried into the church at burial.  “If,” said the
woman, “you really believed that you saved souls by carrying the bodies
into church, you would have taken him in as well as others.”  Now the
system of Popery has grown out of this anxious fear.  It has met the
fears of dying men, by giving a system to their ill-founded hopes.  It
has given the man who knows he is unprepared to die a resting-point
beyond the grave.  It has shifted the work of preparation to a world
unseen and unknown, and so hushed the voice of conscience by assuring it
that there still remains the hope of expiation for its sin.  Purgatory,
therefore, is the last stay for an unsatisfied heart.  It gives the hope
of pardon after death, and serves as a sedative for death-bed fears.

Thus, then, we have traced some few particulars of the Romish system to
their hidden sources in the human heart, and have observed some of the
many perversions and modifications which it has provided for the sinner,
to assist him in the pursuit of peace.

    “Oh, how unlike the complex works of man,
    Heaven’s easy, artless, unencumbered plan!
    No meretricious graces to beguile,
    No clustering ornaments to clog the pile,
    From ostentation, as from weakness, free,
    It stands like the cerulean arch we see,
    Majestic in its own simplicity.
    Inscribed above the portal, from afar
    Conspicuous as the brightness of a star,
    Legible only by the light they give,
    Stand the soul-quickening words, ‘BELIEVE AND LIVE!’”

Here, therefore, we may safely leave our argument; and we would make, in
conclusion, one or two very simple practical remarks.

In the first place, then, we must never feel surprised at seeing amiable,
excellent, and apparently religious men brought under the influence of
Popery; for it has surely appeared to-night, that the characters most
subject to its attraction are those who have felt the power of religious
impression, but who have not been led by the Spirit to know the hallowed
peace of saving grace.  Those who are justified in Christ are at peace,
and do not need it; those who are insensible to Divine things are at
ease, and do not care for it; while the intermediate class, consisting of
those who feel the necessity of the Gospel, but do not enjoy its
grace,—they are the persons most open to an accommodated system, and most
prepared for the reception of a spurious Christianity.  Until a man has
felt some perplexity, he has no desire to surrender his responsibility to
another; nor until he has felt sin’s burden, does he care for the
temporary relief which may be found from penance and absolution.  And
this explains the at first sight remarkable phenomenon of the rapid
progress of Romish principles in latter years, notwithstanding the spread
of evangelical truth, and the increased circulation of the Word of God.
The preaching of the Cross disturbs more minds than it saves, and so
drives the unconverted to have recourse to some substitute for the
Gospel.

A second remark is, that we must never be astonished at the alliance
often witnessed between Popery and Infidelity, for they spring from the
same elements in the human heart.  Unbelief and superstition appear, at
first sight, to be directly opposed; but in their secret springs they are
closely allied.  They are two human remedies for the uneasiness of the
human heart,—the one rejecting, the other accommodating the Gospel.  And
whenever the time shall arise, that the witnesses for Christ shall be
called on once more to bear their cross for the name of Jesus, they must
be prepared to encounter both in a confederate effort against the faith.
In two particulars they agree, in one only they diverge.  In their
uneasiness under the influence of the Gospel, and in their rejection of
its simple plan of life, they are one: the difference is only at the
third stage, when the one rejects revelation, the other accommodates it
to its will.

Lastly, we are surely taught that the one and only remedy for Popery and
Popish tendencies is the free, sovereign, and unfettered grace of our
Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.  We may discuss the many questions arising
out of the system, and overthrow the Romish advocate even on the
ecclesiastical argument; but in so doing we only protect the outposts.
If we would strike at the root of the evil, we must do it by setting
forth at once the fulness and freedom of the salvation that is in Jesus.
Let the doctrine of justification by faith be written on the heart by the
Holy Ghost, and there will then be little fear from Popery.  Let that one
great fundamental truth be neglected and obscured, and the more earnest
that we are in an awakening ministry, the more effectually do we prepare
the way for Rome.  In every point, then, let us meet Antichrist by
exalting Christ.  If men are harassed by perplexity, let us assure their
faith by proclaiming Christ as revealed in Scripture.  If men are craving
after communion with God, let us set Christ before them as the sinner’s
advocate.  If they long for holiness, let us tell them of Christ as our
wisdom and righteousness and sanctification and redemption.  If they seek
justification, let Christ be honoured as the Lord their righteousness;
and if they look for some further expiation of their in purgatory, let us
still tell them of Christ, who “by one offering hath perfected for ever
them that are sanctified.”  This is the weapon which Peter wielded on the
day of Pentecost, and which burst the hold of the Popery of Judaism.
This was the message with which St. Paul set at nought the rising Popery
of Galatia.  This was the mighty power which, in the days of the
Reformation, shook Rome to her foundations; and this is the only name
whereby the witnesses for Christ can ever look for victory, for they
overcome, according to the scriptural record, “by the blood of the Lamb,
and by the word of their testimony.”



PRAYER TO BE USED AT THE MEETINGS OF THE ISLINGTON PROTESTANT INSTITUTE.


ALMIGHTY GOD, who hast built Thy Church upon the foundation of the
Apostles and Prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone,
and hast promised that the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it; we
approach Thee in the name of Him who is the one Mediator, the Way, the
Truth, and the Life.

We praise and magnify Thy holy name for Thy distinguishing goodness
towards us as inhabitants of this Christian land, and members of a
Reformed and scriptural Church.  [We adore Thy grace in that wonderful
interposition of Thy Providence, by which our fathers were rescued from
the yoke of superstitious bondage, and taught to serve Thee in spirit and
in truth.]

But we confess that we have not rendered again according to the benefit
we have received.  We have neither prized nor improved our privileges as
we ought.  [We have sinned, and our fathers have sinned, and we have
reason to fear lest there should be wrath upon us and upon our people,
and lest Thou shouldest pour out the spirit of slumber and delusion upon
us.]  Yet Thou art the same Lord, whose property is always to have mercy.
Remember not our offences, nor the offences of our forefathers.  Turn us
again, O Lord God of hosts; cause Thy face to shine, and we shall be
saved.

Direct our hearts and minds by Thy Holy Spirit.  Give us understanding of
the times to know what we ought to do.  Let Thy merciful help especially
prevent and follow us as members of this Society.  May we begin,
continue, and end everything in Thee.  [Let us not contend for names and
words, but for Thy glory, and the truth of Thy Gospel.]  Grant us a
simple love of the truth, and an experimental acquaintance with it.  [Let
us not be “carried about with divers and strange doctrines,” but let our
hearts be “established with grace.”]

And let us not only believe with the heart, but with the mouth make
confession.  With meekness of wisdom may we ever be ready to defend our
principles and to protest against error.  Let us unite holy zeal,
boldness, and stedfastness, with a spirit of genuine charity.  Grant us a
right judgment in all things, Christian unanimity in our counsels, and
perseverance in well-doing.  [Keep us humble, depending entirely upon the
promised grace and help of Thy Holy Spirit, and watchful, as those who
are not ignorant of the devices of Satan.]

Raise up, we earnestly entreat Thee, champions for the truth; revive in
our days the spirit of the martyrs and reformers of old.  Spare to Thy
Church those who are zealous for Thee.  May the faithful never fail from
among us, but let the rising youth be trained to walk in the good old
paths.

And as Thou hast commanded prayers and intercessions to be made for all
men, we beseech Thee for our sovereign lady, Queen Victoria, [that she
may ever be mindful of the responsibilities of her office and the
obligation of her oath.  Bless abundantly] the Ministers of State.
[Guide] and [govern] the senate of our land.  [Strengthen and encourage
those Protestant Representatives who are faithful to Thy cause; increase
their influence, and add to their numbers.  Pour out Thy Spirit upon all
estates of the realm, the clergy and the laity, the rich and the poor.
May they strive together, as members of one body, for the common faith.
Let it please Thee to comfort and succour all oppressed Protestants, and
confessors of the truth, enabling them to forgive their enemies, and to
maintain their own stedfastness.]  And very earnestly do we beseech Thee
to bring into the way of truth all such as have erred and are deceived.
Strengthen such as do stand, and raise up them that fall.

[Finally, we commend ourselves and the work of our hands unto Thee,
entreating Thee to accept our persons and our services, not weighing our
merits, but pardoning our offences; and so to overrule all events,—nay,
even the errors and infirmities of Thy servants,—to the advancement of
Thy glory, and the good of Thy Church, that truth and liberty, piety and
peace, may be established among us to all generations.]

These and all other mercies we humbly beg in the name and mediation of
JESUS CHRIST, our most blessed Lord and Saviour.

                                                                     AMEN.

     N.B.  The passages within brackets may be omitted at discretion.

                                * * * * *

              Macintosh, Printer, Great New-street, London.



BY THE SAME AUTHOR.


                                    I.

The SCRIPTURAL PRINCIPLES of our PROTESTANT CHURCH.  Second Edition.
Price 3_s._

                                   II.

The TIME of the END; or, The World, the Visible Church, and the People of
God at the Advent of the Lord.  Third Edition.  Price 1_s._ 6_d._

                                   III.

The COMMUNION and COMMUNICANT.  A Practical Tract for Enquirers
respecting the Lord’s Supper.  Price 3_d._, or 2_s._ per dozen.

                                   IV.

BAPTISM as TAUGHT in the BIBLE and the PRAYER-BOOK.  Fifth Thousand.
Price 2½_d._





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