The Social, Political, and Moral Aspects, of Popery.Rev. Hugh Stowell, M.A.,
London: Published by the Protestant Association, At the Office, 6, Serjeants' Inn, Fleet Street;
The Social, Political, and Moral Aspects of Popery.
Mr. Bevan, and my fellow Protestants, if was my privilege last evening to bring before a solemn and attentive audience the spiritual aspect of the Romish controversy, and to prove that no man can be loyal to Christ who is not antagonistic to antichrist: that no man who knows the Gospel as "the power of God unto salvation," and knows Popery effectually, and as she is, can he savingly possessed of "the truth as it is in Jesus," unless he abhors 'the lie as it is in Trent.' My object this morning will be to take you more to the social, political, and moral aspects of Popery; but ere I do so will you bear with me if I just correct one little mistake of a preceding speaker, and if I just explain one little interruption? First, then, it was not Lord Grey, but Colonel Charles Grey whose name was appended to the letter of acknowledgment with which I was favoured in the case of the Sermon sent to her gracious Majesty. We needed no indication—and perhaps it would be too much to interpret it as such—we needed no indication whatever to convince us that the heart that throbs in the breast of Queen Victoria is full of the blood that flowed in the veins of old George the Third, her noble grandfather, who would have laid aside his crown, and forsaken his palace, and betaken him to some lowly cottage, as a humble and retired subject of the realm, rather than he would break his Coronation oath, as he deemed it, by signing such a Bill as that of 1829. I feel that I owe also an explanation of the slight interruption which I ventured to make to the speech of my dear friend Mr. Bickersteth—a worthy name, and worthily represented; and may he long tread in the footsteps of his beloved and sainted uncle, not only in the amplitude of his catholicity but his abhorrence of the bigotry of Rome! I called him to order for designating a certain scarletly-attired man a cardinal in her Majesty's dominions. My reason for doing so was, that if her Majesty's Executive do not see fit to enforce the laws of the land, we her Majesty's subjects will at least obey them ourselves. The title of Cardinal, as given to a subject of our beloved Protestant Queen by a foreign usurping Potentate, has never been recognized or legalized by the laws of England, and until it has been, I, as a loyal man, and a lover of order and of the glorious constitution of our country, will never pollute my hps or defile my pen by writing or speaking of the intruder as anything else than simple Dr. Wiseman. If he complain of the discourtesy he has the remedy in his own hands; let him betake himself to the source from which his muddy honours come—the Banks of the Tiber. His absence will .be more welcome to Protestant England than his presence; and I would move that her Majesty's Government should charter a steamer to land him at his own place. And as I cannot recognize his usurped title neither can I recognize the usurped title of his co-fraternity; and I must say, it is little to the credit, the sagacity or the vigilance of the Protestant press of England that it should have lent its endorsement to those fictitious titles and illegal claims for territorial jurisdiction within our beloved land, when there is actually a law prohibiting the assumption or the use of those titles. I would therefore entreat my reverend brethren and my lay friends, page 4 and the gentlemen of the press, and all the Protestants of England, to ignore utterly and absolutely the title of Dr. Wiseman and every bishop who claims territorial jurisdiction in this land. This is not a slight matter, Romanists know well the value of names, and the importance of familiarizing our ears to their usurpations, so that by getting in the thin edge of the wedge they may drive it home, till at last they split up our Constitution, and cause it to fall in pieces.
It has been asked, and I dare say may be asked again, to what purpose are these your Protestant gatherings? You bring together a large multitude, you excite them, you animate them, you stimulate them, and to a certain extent you inform them; but where is the issue and the upshot? I answer, that if there were no further upshot than to inform their minds and intensify their spirits on the great subject of common Protestantism, very much would be done for the preservation of that Protestantism and the resistance of its great antagonist. For, let me remind you, we live in a country so entirely free, I had almost said, that public opinion, right or wrong, rules us. You must get right opinion to rule, and then we cannot be too free; get wrong opinion to rule, and we lose our freedom in grasping at the shadow.
Now, Mr. Bevan, let me just point out the mighty power of enlightened, determined Protestant opinion. Look at it in the case of the poor released Madiai. We are not going to forget the Madiai. No, no. Though they are set free, we will emblazon their names on our Protestant banner, and we will say, when we are told of the love and tenderness of the Church of Rome, "Look at those poor fettered prisoners, and remember their sin." Their sin? Reading the Word of God, and daring to tell others of the peace it had given them and of the grace they had found. Oh! for more such rebels! May there be rebels in every land that dares to prohibit the Word of God! If it is rebellion against the Pope it is loyalty to the King of kings. And pray, what set the Madiai free? God's gracious interposition supremely. But what instrumentally? Was it any relenting on the part of the Vatican? Was it any faltering on the part of the Cardinals? Was it any change of mind in the poor, earnest, honest, devout, but pliant tool, the Duke of Tuscany? He was only the cat's-paw used by crafty cardinals to answer their own end and purpose. His confessor told him to do it; and he dare not but do what his confessor bade him. What then loosed the chains, what opened the prison doors, and set them free? The Protestant opinion of Protestant England expressed through a free press, uttered on a thousand platforms, echoed from a thousand pulpits, caught up within the walls of our national assemblies, taken up by excellent Christian noblemen and gentlemen, like my Lord Roden and my Lord Cavan, and Captain Trotter—men whose names are embalmed in the hearts of Englishmen; for England is never ungrateful to a public man, much less a nobleman, who does his duty; and there are no men so popular at this moment as the Protestant noblemen who do their duty. Need I mention my Lord Shaftesbury? Need I mention my Lord Roden? Need I mention my Lord Cavan? Need I mention that lovely character, the Marquis of Cholmondeley? Need I mention such names? No; English Protestantism is not ungrateful to its champions. Need I mention the name of that hoary veteran, Richard Spooner, who dares to stand with his "grey hairs, a crown of glory," because "found in the way of righteousness?" There, amid all the storm and hooting and disapprobation of the Irish brigade, and of the combined latitudinarianism page 5 and liberalism that may be found in the House of Commons—there he is with his simple reply, 'It is truth, it is truth,' fixed as he is in the love of truth. It was the free expression of Protestant opinion in England, caught up in Holland, caught up in Sweden, caught up in Denmark, echoed back from Prussia, sent across the Atlantic, returning in thunders from our beloved Protestant child the noble United States—it was this mighty sound that gathered round the Vatican, and pealed like thunder in the ears of its trembling tyrants, and caused them to say, 'Let these poor, petty, Madiai get free; it makes such an uproar that there is more danger in holding them than in letting them go.'
Therefore, Mr. Bevan, if Protestant enlightened public opinion told mightily in that case, it can tell mightily in other cases. And here I will tell you a little secret, my fellow Protestants. It was debated—and I had it from one who was present—at the house of one of the cardinals, at his table, where the head of the Jesuits and the grand Inquisitor were present—it was debated what they should do when England would be theirs; and they expressed no doubt that it would be theirs ultimately. Ah! but there is a third person to be consulted there; there is the mighty nation of Protestant England to be consulted; and while we have a heart to throb, or a head to think, or a hand to move, never shall England belong to the Vatican! But there was one present more crafty than the rest—the head of the Jesuits—and he suggested that it were better to inquire, what are the difficulties and dangers in the way? The difficulties and dangers were referred to this astute man, and he with his usual craft and cunning thus dilated upon them: 'You have very little to fear from the Aristocracy of England: they are for the most part so enervated by luxury and so enamoured by rank that you have only to show them, as you easily can, that the Catholic church will endorse their position and maintain their titles and prestige and rank, and they will welcome you as deliverers and defenders.' It is a libel on a large portion of the noble Aristocracy of England! But let that pass. 'You have as little to fear,' said he, 'from the Church of England, for we have got our faithful little party within her bosom, and they will do the work we have given them to do.' We have had proof this morning that they are doing their work; and the fact Mr. Bickersteth mentioned is preguant with meaning, and I must say that unless Dr. Pusey and his friends clear themselves from all misprision of Jesuitism we shall have reason to suspect every man who is for dragging the abominable confessional of Rome into the Church of England, or bringing back the idolatry of the host—we shall have reason to suspect that man of having matriculated in the Protestant University in order to do the work of the Vatican. But he added still further: 'We have very little to fear from the monied interest'—hear it bankers and merchants and stockbrokers of this great metropolis!—'for,' said he, 'they are so enamoured of Mammon, so alive only to their fiscal interests, that you have only to keep up the funds, and take care not to disturb trade, and they will care very little whether St. Stephens or the Vatican is in the ascendancy, if only they have got plenty of money.' Now, though that may be true of some—and I regret to say that we are a mammonized nation to a fearful extent—I am sure it is not true of such men as Sir John Dean Paul, I am sure it is not true of our excellent Chairman, I am sure it is not true of a glorious galaxy of our princely merchants, who would not only give the last farthing in their banks or their safes for Protestantism, but the last drop of blood in page 6 their veins. 'But,' said the crafty counsellor, 'we have but one great danger, and but one;' and that arose from what he was pleased to designate, 'the mob,' the English mob, meaning the humbler and the middle classes, the intelligent artizans and the lower classes of Protestant England; 'for,' said he, John Bull has got such a horror of Popery, as he calls it, that if you only set a red rag before the animal on a thorn bush, and he will get into such a rage, that he will run and gore it, and turn everything upside down in his terror of the phantom of his own creation. Therefore,' said he, 'whatever you do, take care you do not rouse the monster too soon; get him safely in your toils, get your net about him before you rouse him; then let him bellow and roar as he may.'
Now his fear is, under God, our hope. If the public opinion of the intelligent middle and lower classes of England is the danger that Popery sees a-head, let us increase the danger every way we can. Yes, let us inform that public opinion, let us organize it, let us keep it up to high pressure. Some men are afraid of our carrying this too far. I have no fear of it. No, no; Protestantism never persecuted but when she had just got out of the slough of Rome, and carried a little of the mire along with it; true Protestantism is too full of Jove to Christ and goodwill toward men to burn one hair of the head even of the persecutor; it teaches us to bless those that curse us, and "pray for those that despitefully use us and persecute us." The Protestant opinion of the middle classes of England is, under God, the hope of England. My dear friends, we have too long trusted to public men. Sometimes we were glad when Sir Robert Peel came into office; then we were glad when Lord Derby came into office; and then some were glad when Lord Aberdeen came into office. For my part, I have ceased to be glad of any man coming into office. I must see the man's measures when he is in power, not his professions when he is out of power. I must see how far he will follow the dictates of what appeared to be his principles before he was minister—how far he will follow them after he has got into that intoxicating atmosphere, and reached that giddy height. It seems to me, Sir, that some men leave their consciences with their cloaks when they go into the House of Commons, and put aside their old honored principles when they put on the robes of office. There are some Protestants whom I could wish to see in power. Oh! that we had such men as Lord Shaftesbury, such men as the Earl of Harrowby, such men as Mr. Spooner, such men as Mr. Napier—men, who, I believe, have their hearts in the right place in Protestant matters. But, my dear friends, I would not trust even them with the ark of our common Protestantism; we won't let it go out of our own hands, out of our own keeping, out of our own power; but, trusting in God we will protect it ourselves; we will gather round it and shelter it with our hearts; and we will tell any statesman and all statesmen, any Parliament and all Parliaments—'You shall not betray our Protestantism; rather will we lay down our lives in its defence,' Yes, my Christian friends, we must organize our Protestant energy and our Protestant effort. Thank God, it is being done: in the North of England a new organization has been formed, in Leeds there is anothor, in Newcastle there is another, in Sunderland there is another, in Bishop Wearmouth there is another, and in Darlington we are forming another. The whole of the North of England is being organized. Organize the South of England; organize the West of England, my reverend brethren. Let every minister do his duty; let him protestantize his school and his parish Organize the whole body of the people. Let us have a little page 7 band in every county and in every parish. Bring the whole Protestantism of England into one focus, and where is the minister that can withstand it? where is the Parliament that will not quail before it? We only want justice. We want not to oppress Romanists, but only to hinder Romanists from oppressing us. But, Mr. Bevan, we must have some definite objects in view. Let me bring them before you in detail as briefly and as clearly as I can.
First of all, then, we must have the Acts of Parliament that are in existence made effectual and carried into operation. There is nothing that so encumbers a tree, and hinders the growth of its foliage and its fruit, as pieces of dead timber. Take a pruning knife, and cut them off, and the tree will revive. So is it with the tree of our constitution. There is nothing so dangerous as dead law, obsolete law, effete law. What abuses have not accumulated for want of carrying out the law! They are, in many respects, the best laws that are the best carried out: the best laws in themselves are worthless if not put into operation. The executive, therefore, makes or mars the law in the long run. Now, we have a great deal of law bearing upon Rome that is mere dead law, law that is never carried out. There is a law requiring that all Jesuits should be registered in England—that no Jesuit should be allowed in England after a time long gone by. Why is this law not carried out? Why are not the laws against Jesuits put in force? Are we not a laughing-stock to other nations when they behold this Protestant country deliberately enacting laws which she has not the courage to carry out? It is said, 'The Jesuits will elude you—they will assume another guise—who can find out or catch a Jesuit?' Why, we have policemen very clever and crafty; they manage to catch clever thieves and housebreakers and pickpockets in your metropolis; and I think if they were put on the trail of these spiritual thieves and conspirators they would find them out too. But even if we could not prevent covert Jesuitism we could prevent overt Jesuitism. The Jesuits have no right to build colleges, as they do, as Jesuit colleges. Look at the college at Stoneyhurst, and the college of St. Ignatius at Liverpool, the foundation-stone of which was laid by the late Daniel O'Connell, avowedly as a Jesuit college. Where is our English determination that our laws shall not be a dead letter? England stultifies herself, weakens her moral force, by allowing her laws to lie inoperative. If a poor man brought into the dock and condemned for stealing, were to say to the judge, 'I do not deny that I am guilty, I do not deny that I ought to be transported, and that the law ought to be enforced; but let there be evenhanded justice: why do you enforce the law against me, and not against the Jesuits,' I think her Majesty's representative would feel exceedingly perplexed and puzzled by the question; and if the poor man were sent back to prison, and his sentence kept in abeyance until the law was enforced against the Jesuits it would be more like evenhanded justice than by drawing this distinction between the crafty and the simple, the rich and the poor, the mighty and the impotent. Why should we act thus? Is it because Jesuitism is strong and we are unable to grapple with it? Our fear is our peril. Jesuitism is bold when we are cowardly, it is cowardly when we are bold. Face it—it is a poltroon; fly from it—it is a hound at your heels.
But there is another point more important still—we must follow out the noble enterprize of emancipating the oppressed nuns of England. Mr. Bowyer or Dr. Wiseman may mystify and disguise the matter as they will; but so long as there are close nunneries with gates bolted and barred, and their walls page 8 protected, as I saw in one instance, with something that looked very much like spikes, Englishmen have too much common sense and too much resentment of wrong and injustice not to say, 'If they are free, open your doors; if they are happy, they won't run out.' This is simple logic; it is putting the matter to a practical issue; and if they want to put down the Protestant agitation, or calumny, as they are pleased to designate it,—if they want to avert further legislation on the subject, then I say, 'Forestal us; open your doors; throw open your barred windows that we may hear the sweet notes of their happiness within.' Depend upon it their sweet notes are like the notes of the caged lark that sings amid its wires, but they lack that elasticity and freshness of the notes of the lark that sings in the bright blue sky. You have only to open the lark's cage to prove that it has not lost its love of liberty, and become enamoured of its wires: throw open that little wicket, and see how it springs into the air and mounts to the blue sky above. So may it be with these poor caged birds, these nuns in the closed nunneries, whose spirits are broken, whose sigh is only heard in heaven, or by those who have no heart to respond to it. Open the doors, and I will venture to say they will come forth and soar in the air of heaven. But we are told those bars and bolts are to keep out Protestants, and not to keep in nuns. I can only say that the men who use such arguments have good reason to fear lest Protestants should say, 'You judge of us by yourselves.' For, depend upon it, Englishmen do not break into ladies' schools. There are plenty in the neighbourhood of London, plenty in the neighbourhood of Clifton, and in all parts of the kingdom, but I never saw one with high walls and grated windows, and spiked battlements. No, no, if we do not break into Protestant schools we should not break into Popish nunneries. Ah! fellow Protestants, there is a nearer and more touching and more thrilling question than this. Are we to have, under the pretended name of Protestantism, nunneries for our own daughters? Mr. Chambers stated that we have a hundred* Protestant nunneries—I cannot believe it—I believe if he had said ten it would have been nearer the mark; but if the number is only ten it is ten too many; nay, if there were only one there would be one too many. I do not mean to say that there may not be assemblages of Christian females choosing to live together, and to go about on errands of kindness—I do not find fault with Romish nunneries on that ground, but I find fault with their being closed up and secret. But of all the nunneries in the world the most inconsistent, the most intolerable, are Protestant nunneries adopting Popish practices and Popish rules, and yet pretending to belong to the Church of England. I do not hesitate to say that our bench of bishops owe it to the public feelings of this country, to the Christian spirit of their clergy, to the whole people of this free land, that they should examine this matter, and if they find there are such nunneries that they should put them down, or turn out of the church the clergy who persist in upholding them. If they say the existing law will not enable them to do this, then we should at page 9 once go to Parliament for a law that will enable them; and if they do not do it then, we should go to Parliament and ask it to compel the bishops to do their duty. But I will not believe it of our Bench of Bishops. I believe it is in the hearts of most of them—oh! that I could say all of them—to put a stop to such things; but let it be known who are for and who are against them. Let the two or three who support such things stand out and be pilloried before this Protestant land for their sympathy with such horrible institutions as close nunneries in the Church of England. This is indeed a thrilling and touching topic. We cannot but feel it as fathers; we cannot but feel it as men. Of all oppression the oppression of woman is the worst. Our hearts burn when we read reports in the police courts of a husband beating and bruising the wife whom he ought to cherish—being the tyrant and the terror of her whom he ought to protect from every harm, and every breath of evil. This fills us with righteous indignation; but it is not so bad as the exposure of those poor nuns, shut up in popish nunneries, to the irresponsible tyranny of some old woman and some bachelor priest or two—who shall tell what passes within? They say, 'call in the police; if there is a case of oppression bring it before the magistrate.' But who shall report it? Some bird of the heaven? Some secret whispering voice? Some vision of the night? Some spirit or phantom of the air? Who else can do it? Can the poor nun herself? Will those that oppress her? Are they not leagued together? Open the doors! Such tyranny should never be tolerated. It is wrong on principle. I would trust no man living with irresponsible power—I would not trust an archangel with it. There is but one Being in the universe who can be trusted with irresponsible power; and that Being can be trusted with it because as He is infinite in power He is infinite in truth and grace and love. It is no creature that can be trusted with irresponsible power, certainly not a hoary-headed lady abbess, soured by age, embittered by bondage, revenging her own slavery upon the victims to her power; less still a bachelor priest who has had all the loving affections of his nature curdled up in his own bosom by a wretched constrained celibacy that alienates him from his kind, that makes him everywhere an exile, without a home, without endearing affections, without fond social ties—no tie but his church, no home but Rome. These are the characters to whom these poor nuns are consigned. My dear friends, I am not speaking unadvisedly. I never pass a popish priest without feeling an instinctive kind of shrinking—not from the man as a man—he is no worse than I am by nature, and if I differ, truth and grace have made me to differ—not as my fellow-sinner or my fellow-countryman do I shrink from him, but as an impersonation of that horrible system that makes it a virtue to subvert our liberties, and a duty to be alien to all that we love and value. Depend upon it, the popish priesthood are the most dangerous body of men that walk the face of the world. There is no body of men from whom the laity have so much to fear. They hold that men were made for priests, that you laymen are only made to be the scaffolding on which they are to mount, that they may stand on your heads, and live as demigods in the midst of the world. Ah! lay friends, take care of that great conspiracy, the priesthood; take care of hierarchical combination and aggression; take care of priestly pride and ambition, whether it is in the Church of England, or in the Wesley an body, or in the Presbyterian body, or in the Baptist body, or in the Independent body—wherever it is, watch against priestcraft, for it is a crying evil and a fearful mischief. We are all of us "men page 10 of like passions with yourselves;" we need to pray for ourselves, and you need to pray for us, that we may not be tempted by the love of power to give ourselves to priestcraft. That has been one of the greatest impediments in the way of Christianity, and one of the greatest spots and blemishes on the visible church.
But, my dear friends, we have not done yet. We have entered on a righteous crusade against the unhallowed grant to Maynooth. That crusade, by God's blessing is prospering. The late division in the House of Commons was a good omen. We must pursue our course, we must never rest till we feel that the Babylonish garment is put out of the camp of England. But let me give you a bit of advice. Do not go to work in a piecemeal manner; go boldly at the thing; if it is bad, it is bad; if it is good, it is good; but do not say it may be bad, or it may be good. I hate mere inquiries into such places as Maynooth. You might as well issue a commission to ascertain whether it is dark at midnight, or whether the sea is salt, as to ascertain whether the Popery taught at Maynooth is unfit for Protestant England to support. What will you bring out? What has been brought out again and again? Delahogue and Bailey, and all those beautiful doctors of divinity, and teachers of lovely morality, in which Romish priests are compelled to bathe their souls. We must do, as good Mr. Spooner did, and grapple with the evil. We know Maynooth is as bad as any commission can show it to be. Repeal the Maynooth Grant, then, must be our watchword—petition for nothing else. But more than this. We must have before us, even if we do not follow it out now, the ultimate displacement of the Irish Popish band from the place they have abused in the British legislature. After all, you can never effectually stop a stream but by stopping the fountain. The streams of Maynooth, the streams of Papal aggression, the streams of bitterness, that have so long been deplored in our country, are all to be traced up to the opening of that bitter fountain, the Bill of '29. Protestant England then took down her flag; Protestant England then invaded and made a breach in her glorious constitution; Protestant England then ceased in her constitution to be entirely Protestant. She gave an argument to latitudinarian statesmen and senators; for they began to say, 'You have gone so far that you might as well go all the way.' So, when we oppose the introduction of the Jews into Parliament, because we will not sacrifice our faith to their unbelief, we are told, 'You have let in the Romanists; why, then, not let in the Jews?' Then, when we resisted the Papal aggression, we were told, 'You have allowed the Romanists to legislate for you; why, then, not allow them to set up their ecclesiastical system?' Thus are we attacked by our own inconsistencies. Nay, they are not ours. The great majority of the nation of England has never been accessory to those humiliating concessions. They have been carried, not by public opinion, but in defiance of public opinion. But, after all, what wretched sophistry is this! It is as if you told a man, 'You have become a thief, you had better become a murderer: why are you so squeamish about being a murderer when your hands are already defiled with robbery?' Because we have done wrong we must do worse! Nay, nay, because we have done wrong we must right the wrong, and go back to where we were. If we are taunted by this Bill of 1829, the only way will be to grapple nobly and manfully with it—I believe it will come to that in the long run.
My friends, two supremacies cannot long coexist in this country—the supre- page 11 macy of the Pope, and the supremacy of our beloved Queen. Who shall be uppermost? Who shall rule her subjects? No divided sceptre for Queen Victoria! Let her rule all her subjects from the highest to the lowest; in all causes, ecclesiastical as well as temporal, in these her dominions, she ought to be supreme; and whoever teaches the opposite doctrine, whether he be a clergyman or a lay member of the Church of England, is disloyal to his Queen, and unfaithful to his country. If the Queen ought to be supreme over her Protestant subjects, she ought to be supreme over her Romish subjects. Yet, my friends, they themselves being the judges, in their periodicals, in their feasts, in their social life, they show that though they live in the same country with us, they are not our fellow-subjects. We are subjects of the Queen; they are subjects of the Pope. We give the Queen the first place in our toasts; they the Pope. They drink the Pope's health with enthusiastic applause; the Queen's with very smothered and decent acclamations. That is the gauge of Popish loyalty—the Pope high above, the Queen underneath. They tell you it is a spiritual pre-eminence; but he that is lord of my soul is lord of my body; he that wields, as I believe, my eternal destiny, is mightier than all the potentates of the earth. The Pope is either a monstrous impostor, or Christ's vicar on earth. We believe him to be the former, they the latter. And according to their belief they are right enough in what they do; but then are we right to let them legislate for us, and to interfere with our Protestant rights? Since their admission to the House of Commons they are virtually our rulers. We used to have three estates of the realm—Queen, Lords, and Commons; but now we have four estates—the Queen, Lords, Commons, and Popish bands, the representatives of the Vatican. They were not chosen by the free will of the people, but at the bidding of the priesthood; they are not representatives of Ireland, but of Rome. It is even said by those who are supposed to be behind the scenes, that certain considerations have been offered to these men if they will only vote for the ministry. And is it come to this? That our country can only be governed on the sufferance of the Vatican—that the Popish representatives are to stultify the British House of Commons—that we are to have "a house divided against itself"—that it cannot stand?
Depend upon it, a great crisis is at hand. The struggle has begun all over the world. It has begun in America. A distinguished individual from America told me, that the struggle there might end in civil war. So crafty are the priests, that they manage the elections to a large extent, and are therefore courted by all the democratic movers in the Union. Look again at the continent—how liberty is trying to set itself up in Italy. An individual who is fostering the work of God in Sardinia tells us, that the Gospel is effectually planted at Turin and Genoa, so that it can never be rooted out of the soil; and even atheists and deists say, that nothing can be done for the country without the Gospel, and they submit their publications for inspection before they issue from the press, so that they may contain nothing hostile to Christianity. Look at Ireland. There, thank God, victory crowns truth and faithfulness. There is a noble mission to Romanists in Islington that is working well. Then there is Dr. Armstrong in Bermondsey, whom I respect and love for his noble efforts. In Manchester we are engaging an Irish-speaking clergyman, with four or five readers under him; and there are one hundred and fifty Protestant visitors engaged in the work; so that we are combined page 12 in a holy crusade that will give Popery no peace, though we come with peace to the poor Romanist. This warfare cannot be checked. The two great antagonists have come face to face. Is it to be Popery or Protestantism? Shall Christ, or shall man, be the head of the church? England, as the citadel of freedom and the land of Bibles, is the envy and wonder of the Popish world, and here the battle will be most collected. The Jesuits throughout Europe are preaching against "perfidious Albion." The usurper of France, who has shed so much blood to set himself on the throne, is, I believe, very much in the prompting of the Jesuits; and depend upon it, if he does not invade England, it will not be for a want of will on their part, nor a kind of fatal necessity which he imagines existing in his own mind; but it will be because Protestant England is forewarned and forearmed. If we only come to the struggle with clean hands—if we get rid of Maynooth, and of close nunneries, and of the Pope's brass bands, we may smile at an embattled world, with God for us, and His truth on our side. Yes, if France does not try to invade us, if Europe does not combine against us, it will not be for want of will on the part of Popery. The great struggle is coming; and the question soon will be, who are on the Lord's side? and who are on the side of antichrist? May it be ours to make England, as she long has been, the land of liberty, the land of Bibles, the land of prosperity, the land of peace, on whose dominions the sun never rests; and then not to her, but to her Protestant faith, to the Word of God, to the blessing of Heaven, to the grace that Christ gives her, alone be the praise. Let her be true to Him and to the principles that have exalted her, and nothing shall succeed against her. Let her be faithless, and perfidious, and apostate, and God will forsake her, and her glory will leave but a terrible wreck behind.
The Eighteenth Anniversary Sermon of the Protestant Association, preached at the Parish Church of St. Giles-in-the-fields, by the Rev. Hugh Stowell, M.A., Hon. Canon of Chester, May 10, 1853, price 2d., or 12s. per hundred. May be had at the Office of the Protestant Association, 6, Serjeant's Inn, Fleet Street, London, and of all booksellers in the United Kingdom.
* Mr. Chambers has explained this in a letter to the "Times" of the sixteenth of May, in which the following occurs: "After stating that by Roman Catholic returns, there appeared to be seventy-five convents in England and Wales in connection with that Church, I said that we had no returns as to Anglo-Catholic and other conventual institutions, but that I thought it would be safe to estimate the numbers altogether (that is, including the Roman Catholic) at not less than a hundred. I was misunderstood as affirming that a hundred existed, excluding the Roman Catholic convents."