The New Zealand Evangelist
Britain,—Diplomatic Relations with Rome.
Great excitement has been caused among Protestants of all classes by the introduction of a bill into the Upper House of Parliament, by the Government, to sanction diplomatic relations with Rome, or the sending and receiving of accredited ambassadors between the British and Papal Courts; a thing that has not been done since the Reformation, except in some one or two instances. The object is not to promote trade or commerce; the civil power of the sovereign pontiff is nothing; but to get the Pope to exercise that peculiar influence which he possesses in assisting them to tranquilize Ireland. The American Government are also proposing a similar measure to aid them in controlling the Popish subjects of the States. Protestant feeling is being strongly manifested against this measure in Britain, as a sacrificing of principle to expediency, and seeking relief in a remedy that will in the end prove worse than the disease. Popery is the bane of Ireland, and how she is to be benefitted by more of that influence it is difficult to understand. English Roman Catholic noblemen have been forced to call the highest dignitaries of the Roman Catholic Church, in Ireland, before the bar of public opinion. The Earls of Arundel and Shrewsbury have written plain and pertinent letters to the Bishop of Clogher and the Archbishop of Tuam, on the conduct of the priests in denouncing men from the altar, in consequence of which their murder was deemed lawful if not meritorious, and the replies of the Archbishop have been haughty and insulting, and clearly show that popery is an enemy to the peace of Ireland. Moreover, if the Pope cannot govern his own Italian subjects, how will he lend efficient aid to the Government of Queen Victoria? or if he write rescripts and issue bulls, he must be remunerated by the upholding of popish influence else where. The recent events in Italy have changed the aspect of affairs so much that the Bill, by our latest accounts, was moving slowly through parliament.
Signs of the Times.
Few aspects of the times are more striking than the prominence that is now given to religion in all places and among all classes. In the debates in the House of Commons on the bill for the admission of the Jews to sit as Members of Parliament, the religious bearings of the question were far more insisted on by many of the speakers, than the political. It is said that from the frequent and ready reference to the words and principles of the Bible, it might almost have been supposed that one of the Puritanical parliaments page 114 of the first Charles, or of the days of the Commonwealth had risen from the dead. There is among our Senators a much greater number of religious men than has been, for a long time past. Some of the leading periodicals that a few years ago were purely literary and political, have now a strong infusion of evangelical principles. The element of earnestness is much stronger in every religious system, be it true or false than it has been perhaps for a century and a-half. Every system must now be in earnest; apathy is now death to any cause. If Evangelism is to be victorious our hearts must be in it.