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moral atmosphere; and the scenes which have been acted in the dungeons of Madrid and Goa, can be renewed on the soil consecrated as the home of freedom and the refuge of the oppressed. To us as Americans, the inquiry is a deeply interesting one, What is the character, and what have been the favourite measures of a church that boldly advances its pretensions to Unity-pretensions which we have seen are in many respects but too well founded. Maintaining, as we have no doubt it will do, the same character it has sustained ever since the days of Pepin, what have we reason to expect will be its influence, should it ever become in this country the predominant sect? Let the degraded condition of those portions of the world which have been brought under its sway, answer.
To illustrate this character was the design of the following pages, and in his design it is apparent that the author has succeeded. If according to the representation of its friends, Romanism is the same in every age, if its maxims, creed, principles and aim never alter, then what it has been in other countries, it will be in this. Here we may see, as in a glass, what destiny the religion of Papists would prepare for us. The publishers of this first American edition of the Protestant, encouraged by the advice of many men of intelligence, and themselves believing that such a work is needed, especially in those sections of the United States where popery is making its most vigorous and successful efforts, confidently commit it to the patronage of their fellow citizens, at the same time referring them to the appendix for evidence that the apprehensions just expressed are not altogether without foundation.
TO THE NINTH GLASGOW ELITION.
TO THE READER.
The volumes of " THE PROTESTANT," of which a new edition is now offered to the public, originated in a newspaper puff about the pretended holiness of the popish chapel, lately erected in Glasgow. The exposure of the absurdity of the pretence led to a defence of it by some persons of the Romish communion; and a number of letters on both sides were published in the Glasgow Chronicle, in the summer of 1818. These constitute the first part of volume first; and what follows is a series of essays, published weekly, for four years, embracing the principal points of controversy between the church of Rome, on the one hand, and the different communions known by the name of Protestant, on the other. The author made comparatively little account of the differences of opinion and practice which exist among the latter, not because he thought them unimportant, but because he wished to keep by the one point of exposing the errors, impositions and idolatry of the papal church, which make it not only lawful, but the duty of all Christians to separate from her communion; and thus to vindicate the Protestant churches, in the matter of their separation, whatever mistakes any of them may have fallen into in other respects. His success in this undertaking may be inferred from the high approbation of Protestants of distinguished rank and learning, in each of the three kingdoms; perhaps still more from the approbation of thousands, whose learning consists of little more than their knowledge of the word of God; and perhaps most of all from the almost unparalleled abuse heaped upon him by those whose principles and practices he exposed.
When his labours commenced, it was the opinion of many Protestants that such a work was altogether uncalled for. It was alleged by some, that popery was greatly. ameliorated; and by others, that, in the present enlightened state of society, it would soon die away of itself; that, at least, it was impossible it should ever increase, or gain such a footing in Britain, as to occasion any uneasiness or alarm. "THE PROTESTANT" contributed not a little to remove these mistakes; and recent events have confirmed what he maintained from the beginning,—that popery is the same that ever it was, that it is on the increase,--and that Papists are making strenuous efforts, especially in Ireland, to recover the ascendancy which they formerly possessed, and which they employed for the extirpation of all who presumed to differ from the church of Rome, and to believe and worship according to the word of God. Not content with the re-establishment of the Inquisition, and the restoration of the order of Jesuits, they have, within the last twelve months, made pretensions of a supernatural kind, in order to impose on the world as they did for ages before the reformation. They pretend that a saint has arisen among them, possessing miraculous powers, equal to those of any apostle or prophet. This is a German prince of the naine of Hohenlohe. It is given out that he has great interest in heaven, particularly with the Virgin Mary and some other saints, so that he can cure the diseases of persons whom he never saw, in any part of the world. To Protestants this appears extremely absurd; they laugh at the folly, and think no more about it-believing it impossible that the world can now be deceived by such nonsense. But the fact is, a great part of the world is already deceived by it. These miracles are believed as firmly as any recorded in the Bible. In all the newspapers in the popish interest, and these are not few, they are puffed off as undoubted facts. They are copied into others as matters of curiosity; and people soon begin to believe what is incessantly repeated with unhesitating confidence. Learned doctors, including the popish bishop of Kildare, are not only not ashamed of them, but they glory in them as incontestable evidence of the truth of their religion, and the holiness
of their church. These tricks are performed with such art and imposing solemnity, that the ignorant and credulous of all sects are in danger of being deceived; and the very fact that Papists can now with such unblushing impudence practise these impositions, shows that they find what is called Christendom ready to submit again to the bondige of the dark ages, and to acknowledge the spiritual supremacy of the pope of Rome.
One object which the author kept constantly in view, was to show that popery has its origin and its seat in the corrupt principles of our depraved nature. The essence of it is alienation from God in his revealed character; and it operates like all other idolatry, in the way of loving and serving the creature in preference to the Creator. This, it is presumed, will be found demonstrated in the pages of " THE PROTESTANT ;" and the consideration of this ought to remove the surprise of those who are surprised by the increase of popery in this age of light. It is only a heartless assent to an established creed, which is the same thing as indifference to all religion, that constitutes the Protestantism of a vast proportion of our population. These are all no better than Papists at heart. They are under the influence of the same false views of the character of God, and of their own state and character. While they remain indifferent, they may be sufficiently good Protestants according to law; but should their consciences begin to accuse them, and the recollection of their sins make them to feel the dread of a hereafter, they will be in great danger of embracing that religion that affords relief at the easiest rate, that gives a hope of escaping the wrath to come without such a change of heart and character as would make them hate and forsake their sins. Popery gives relief in this way; and all are prepared to embrace it who wish to “make their peace with God,” without being reconciled to him by faith in Christ, and renewed to holiness of life. In an enlightened country many are prevented from embracing it by its ridiculous fooleries ; but even these, by becoming familiar, soon become tolerable; and the plausible representations of an artful priesthood seldom fail of success, when brought to bear upon the perverted minds of such nominal Protestants.
The only effectual antidote is the gospel of the grace of God. This exhibits salvation absolutely free to sinners of the human race; and those who are saved must accept the boon as the gift of divine mercy to them as sinners deserving condemnation. Such persons are taught to submit to the righteousness and the will of God as revealed in the scriptures; to reject all other authority in matters of religion ; and thus, under the influence of the Holy Spirit, they are preserved from the errors of popery and every other fatal delusion. To this subject “Tue PROTESTANT” has given a prominent place in his pages; and he is not ashamed to acknowledge, that he sometimes went a little out of his way, that he might have the happiness of preaching the gospel to his readers.
From his numerous mercantile and other avocations, he could not find leisure to bestow more care in the composition of his papers than is usually bestowed on mere letters of business. The reader, therefore, must not expect the graces of style in any of them. He studied nothing higher in his composition than to be intelligible; and he is aware that many verbal improvements might be made on a revisal; but the pages being stereotyped, do not admit of alteration.
TO AMERICAN PROTESTANTS.
"The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy." By it we are assured, that the period cannot be far distant, when a most illustrious display of the mercy of God, in the gift of his Son, will be unfolded in the millennial glory of the Redeemer, and the blessedness of regenerated man. Nevertheless, the religion of Jesus Christ, by which this renovation will be perfected, is frequently represented in the sacred oracles as a system of controversy, which will not be silenced, until the redemption of the lost sinners shall have been perfectly achieved,
Of all the characteristics of modern times, no one is more inconsistent with divine truth, and more injurious to the best interests of pure and undefiled religion, than the spurious liberalism, which the malignant artifices of modern infidelity have disseminated among the disciples of Jesus. It is secretly undermining the reformed churches in their spirituality, purity, and influential example before an ungodly world.
A sincere, and manly defence of truth, and a determinate rejection of error, are now repelled among us, as harsh and uncharitable, as if severity and the want of a Christian spirit were felt and exemplified by those only who are Christians. This assuredly must be a device of Satan: and part of that deceitfulness with which the adversary beguiles his servants to misery everlasting.
Who was the first Christian controvertist? THE PRINCE OF PEACE. Jesus, the Friend of sinners, when he called his twelve disciples, and sent them forth, commanding them to preach that the kingdom of heaven is at hand, proclaimed—"Think not that I am come to send peace on earth; I come not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and a man's foes shall be they of his own household." Matthew 10: 34-36. The gracious Saviour also confirmed the same truth, with more energy, when he declared upon another occasion>" I am come to send fire on the earth. Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth. I tell you-nay, but rather division-for henceforth there shall be five in one house divided, three against two, and two against three.” Luke 12: 49—53. Yet to encourage his disciples amid these distressing trials and separations, which the contest of light against darkness and truth against error would necessarily produce, the Lord emphatically subjoins-"He who loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me-he who taketh not his cross and followeth not after me, is not worthy of me” Matthew 10: 37_-39; and 18: 27-30. “Whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and
sinful generation; of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his father with the holy angels." Mark 8: 34–38. Matthew 10: 32, 33.
Stephen, the protomartyr, was an evangelical polemic of almost unequalled energy; and during his short conflict, his face shone, as if it had been the face of an angel, while the infidel scorners “were not able to resist the wisdom and spirit by which he spake.”
The apostle Paul disputed daily in the school of Tyrannus, and for his extraordinary capacity and success as a reasoner, confounding them who pretended to be Jews, but who were of the synagogue of Satan;" he is immortalized as one of the chief of them who have turned the world upside down." To use his own inspired and exhilarating language—“And what shall I more say? the time would fail me to tell of patriarchs, of judges, and “of the prophets, who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, and obtained pro mises." Hebrews 11: 32–40.
Peter, James, Matthew, Jude, and John, with their apostolic brethren, and the primitive evangelists, are similarly renowned, as Christian controversialists who “contended earnestly for the faith which was once delivered to the saints."
The same general attribute may be affirmed of all the dignified evangelical warriors who have fought under the banners of the Captain of salvation, whether they were the martyrs, during the persecutions of heathen or papal Rome; or the confessors who have braved the storm of indignation from ecclesiastical tyrants, in every age; or the reformers who resolved to cast off the yoke of “Babylon the great," or die in the struggle; or the more modern Christian soldiers who have to vanquish Satan, not in the terrific experience of faggot and fire, but in that holy contest which obliges them to discriminate between “the mystery of iniquity” and “ the mystery of godliness," and resolutely to discard all the abominations of the “ beast" of the apocalypse.
American Protestants now appear to be paralyzed with a dread of defending evangelical truth; especially in reference to the papal apostasy. This pernicious "fear of man that bringeth a snare," originates partly in two dispositions, which it is indispensable to the safety and prosperity of the church and of civil society that we should endeavour to remove. They are that false charity which is the prevalent temper of modern Christian professors; and that profound ignorance of the genuine character and effects of the working of Satan, which the Lord will consume with the spirit of his mouth, and which he shall destroy with the brightness of his coming." 2 Thess. 2: 8.
It is common to hear persons who ought to be more enlightened upon these topics, reprobating the defence of Christian truth; because it necessarily involves opposition to error, and implies contention. But in what other mode is sin to be counteracted and ignorance banished, than by displaying their evil attributes, and consequences ? What is the preaching of the gospel of Christ but controversy? Is it not the very method appointed by God himself to maintain “the good fight of faith,” until the triumphs of the cross shall have encircled the whole human family?
Connected with this delusion, there is another evil which at present