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The New Zealand Evangelist

Rome. Alleged Renunciation Of Popery By The Romans

Rome. Alleged Renunciation Of Popery By The Romans.

We publish to-day the Roman document to which we referred in our columns of Wednesday. We take it as abridged in the Evangelical Christendom, the conductors of which periodical in form us that it was transmitted to them from Rome, after some detention in the Post Office,—that it had been issued by the Popular Club at Rome, circulated in thousands of copies throughout that city, and received with universal acclamation by the Romans. The document is a most remarkable one in all respects, and we see no reason to doubt its authenticity, unless on the ground that it indicates a maturity of knowledge, both as regards fundamental doctrines of revelation, and the great scriptural principles which regulate the constitution and government of the Church, which might be scarce deemed possible, considering the peculiar circumstances of the Romans, and the shortness of the time they have page 346 had to study these matters. But this impossibillity vanishes when we take into account, that recently not fewer than seventy thousand Bibles have been distributed in Rome,—that under the excitement of late events there has been an extrnordinary quickening of the Roman mind,—and that the necessity has been forced upon the Romans of sifting the truth and foundation of things hitherto received without question. Besides, the document bears internal evidence of being the product of an Italian mind; and though possibly Dr. Desanctis and the other eminent men in Malta who take a deep interest in the Italian movement, and are watching it with intense anxiety, may have aided by their advice the compilers of this document, yet it is so admirably adapted to the circumstances and mental condition of the Romans at this moment, that it is not at all likely to have been written out of Rome. It places the truth before the Italian mind, not in the form of dogma, but inferentially and by suggestion. It contains a wonderfully clear exhibition of all the great principles that compose the Church's doctrine, and that regulate her government. The truth on which Luther built his Reformation,—justification by faith alone,—it unequivocally proclaims. It asserts the vital doctrine, which it has all along been the grand aim of Popery to obscure,—that there is one Mediator between God and man. It affirms that the Head of the Church is, and only can be, Jesus Christ; and it teaches, moreover, like our own Reformer Knox, that the Pope and the priests do not constitute the Church, but that the “congregation of believers” is the Church; and that the Christians assembling at Rome are the Roman Church, which is holy if they are holy, and apostolic if they adhere to the doctrine of the apostles. It claims also, in behalf of the Church so defined, the right of changing her bishop, and puts to Pius IX. this question,—whether he would think it absurd should the people of Rome, who are strictly the Roman Church, repudiate him “an apostate, treacherous, and bombarding bishop, and choose for themselves another,—faithful, truthful, and beneficent?” and asks in the event of the Roman people doing so, of what Church he would be Pontiff? All these important truths, and others scarcely less vital and important, are boldly set forth in this remarkable document.

The French and the English papers observe a profound silence regarding this greal evangelical movement, which, it would appear, is now in progress in Rome. It is not the manner of these journals to bestow attention on such matters, seeing they can discover no weight in them. But it is plain that some great obstacle exists at Rome to the restoration of the Papacy, which has not yet been avowed. It is now a month since the French entered the city, avowedly for the purpose of restoring the Pope; and yet for anything that appears, that event is about as distant as ever. And hence, too, the strong remonstrance and warnings reiterated from day to day, of the Roman correspondent of the Times, who is himself a Papist, that if the Pope shall return in the plentitude of absolute power,—in other words, if the tempornl be not disjoined page 347 from the spiritual sovereignity,—it is all over with Rome, that is, with the Pope And with this agree the lamentations of Father Ventura, that heretics were multiplying every day at Rome, and that the very existence of the Church was in peril in the seat and centre of her authority. It is plain, too, from the frightfully bitter and malignant epithets which the Pope and his creatures apply to the Romans, that some movement is in progress at Rome which gives unspeakable mortification and alarm to the adherents of the Papacy. Rome is described in the Papal manifestos as “a den of raging beasts,” and those who inhabit it are termed “apostates.” “heretics,” “furies of hell,” et cetera.

All these facts corroborate the statements of the Chritian Times and Evangelical Christendom, respecting the origin of the document, and the effects which it has produced. Viewed in this light, we must regard the document as indicating an event which has had few occurrences to equal it, in point of magnitude, in Europe since the Reformation. The Romans had already dethroned the Pope as a temporal prince; and now, it would appear, they have dethroned him as a spiritual sovereign.