« הקודםהמשך »
made by Catholics. I dispute nothing on this head, but reiterate the
general vice and mischief of all kinds of oath-making.
The eighth section is explanatory of the distinction between allegiance to the temporal sovereign and obedience to the Pope.
The ninth denies the claim of British Catholics to the property of the Church establishment in England.
The tenth admits the charitable common Christian doctrine of exclusive salvation. The salvation to those who are not Christians will be in the exclusion.
In the eleventh and last section, the imputation, that “ faith is: not to be kept with heretics” being a Catholic principle, is denied ; but we must take the Catholic Church, as we ought to take every thing else, to be what we see it in practice,
The spirit of this declaration is good, as a defence against a list of common charges; but declarations like these have no connection with the actions of a large body
of people. In all sects, there is a spirit of malignant opposition to other sects, which no Declaration of this kind can remove or controul. This Declaration might have been truly the sentiments of the writer and of those priests who have subscribed their names; but what has it to do with the spirit and disposition of the labouring Catholics of Ireland, or of the people of Spain, Portugal, Italy and other places? It might be the sincere sentiments of the lay Catholics, who have sent forth their names with it; but take an Irish labourer, who is a Catholic, in London, ask his opinion of it, and he will swear it is altogether a heresy, if he hears nothing of the signature of the priests. It is among the ignorant that religion becomes the most vicious.
The purpose for which the Declaration under review has been written is evidently that of explanation and conciliation with the Protestants; and it is due to the issuers of it, that I give their concluding paragraph :-
« CONCLUSION. “ Having, in the foregoing declaration, endeavoured to state, in the simplicity of truth, such doctrines of our church are as most frequently misrepresented or inisunderstood in this country, and to explain the meaning in which Catholics understand the terms by which these doctrines are expressed in the language of their church; we confidently trust, that this declaration and explanation will be received by all our fellow-subjects, in a spirit of candour and charity; and that those who have been hitherto ignorant of, or but in perfectly acquainted with our doctrines of faith, will do us the justice to acknowledge, that, as Catholics, we hold no religions principles, and entertain no opinions flowing from those principles, which are not perfectly consistent with our duties as Christians, and as British subjects."
Í have no fear at seeing the Roman Catholics put upon the footing of the other sects; though I view their obstacles as trifles of their own creation. The question is no longer whether koman
Catholics shall triumph over Protestants or Protestants over Catholics; but whether Christianity shall exist in any shape as a state religion, or whether there shall be a state religion. There is the grand question of religion or no religion before the public, and all the affairs of the sects are minor trifles, not deserving to be looked upon as public matters. Let the Catholics look to this: let them not look upon their religious dogmas as established truths. There is not an instance on record, where a religion, as the religion of the state, once overthrown, ever recovered its former power: and the cause of this constant change is that nothing under the name of religion has a foundation in nature, truth. or what we call physical principles. Let the Catholics look to this, and they will soon emancipate themselves. Why am not I mancipated, with all my obnoxious tenets? Why? Because I rest on truth, as far as I can see it, and hold myself open to all the changes that further enquiry can make on my mind; and, in this case, I hold myself as a primitive Catholic, to be more wise, consistent and sincere than ihe modern Roman Catholic.
[The following Specimen of Practical Roman Caiholicism is the best
answer that can be adopted by the Protestants to the foregoing Declaration.].
The age of miracles may be over in other countries, but not in Spain, for-it was no longer ago than last year that the following very remarkable one took place, and which is firmly believed by all white (blancos) Spaniards. During the great drought of last summer prayers were offered up in all the churches for rain, and amongst others in that of the village of Las Cabezas de San Juan in Andalusia, where the unfortunate Riego proclaimed the Constitution. But it was in vain that the patron Saint Nicholas was worried with prayers-he was, it seems, not a wet saint, for not a drop of rain fell. However, on a Sunday, as the faithful were at their devotions in his church, they perceived a letter in the hand of the Saint. Some of the most devout approached to take it, but though Saint Nicholas de las Cabezas de San Inan is no more yielding material than wood, yet he raised the hand in which he held the letter, which was taken as an unequivocal sign that he was unwilling to deliver it. The Cure being informed of the circumstance came in full canonicals to the Saint and prayed him humbly to give him the letter, which the Saint by lowering his hand, acceded to; and the Cure took the mission and read it to the congregation, to
their infinite edification, It was couched in the following terins:
“ Abodes of the Blessed, May 1, 1824. • My beloved Nicholas, I have beard your continual prayers to me to send down rain upon your country : you have, no doubt, forgotten the crimes with which your rebel village is stained, and which are the cause of the drought which now afflicts unfortunate Spain. It is in vain you ask for watermat present it is impossible for me to oblige you.-Except rain, ask any thing else you wish froin
Your ever affectionate, (signed)
THE ETERNAL FATHER.” This miracle was of public notoriety, and made a considerable noise, not only in Andalusia, but all over Spain. Even at present should any one be imprudent enough to express any doubt of it before the brave inhabitants of Las Cabezas de San Juan, he would run considerable risk of broken bones if not loss of life.
CHRISTIAN EVIDENCE SOCIETY.
The society which has existed in London near two years under this denomination has at length obtained a chapel; but not the chapel in Canon-street for which a deposit was made. Some impediments have been thrown in the way of getting possession of that chapel ; but until that point can be setiled, the Rev. Robert Taylor has got possession of the Founder's Hall Chapel, Lothbury, near the Bank of England. The following placard has been left in my shop:-
SOCIETY OF UNIVERSAL BENEVOLENCE, Instituted in Dublin, March 14, 1824. For the public worship of Almighty God, and inculcation of moral duties, without reference to any dogmas or authorities of antiquity. -Divine Service will be performed, and a SERMON preached in the Society's Chapel, Founder's Hall, Lothbury, on Sunday Morning next, at eleven o'Clock, and the like regularly continued, by the Rev. Robert TAYLOR, A.B. and M.R.C.S. Chaplain of the Society, and Orator of the Christian Evidence Society.
ROBERT TAYLOR-17, Carey-street.
Here, it appears, that we are to have sacred dramas performed on a Sunday. The lovers of novelties wanted something new in the church way, and now they will have it in perfection.
STATE OF THE LABOURING CLASS.
From all parts of the country we hear of the distress of the labourers. Thousands of men, able and willing to work for their subsistence, cannot find employment; and the generality of those who obtain employment are so miserably remunerated as to be but little better off than their idle brethren. Miseries without end, and the dreadful miseries flowing from partial starvation, are the results. Nor have we good reasons to hope that this sad state of things will speedily change for the better; but rather, as the winter is approaching and trade in general growing worse, we have reasons to expect that the number of sufferers and the intensity of their sufferings will be much increased.
Every one, possessing the least spark of humanity, must feel desirous to remove such sufferings far from the abode of any of his species. But how is this to be effected? This question throws a dampth upon the generous feelings which sympathy had produced. The cause of these sufferings cannot be immediately removed; and even to alleviate, in a very partial degree, the miseries to which so large a portion of our fellow-countrymen are subjected, requires our best energies, the application of all our means. It is often boasted that an Englishman in his own country has no occasion to want subsistence; the poor laws, as a last resource, always provide for him. But what is the provision these laws ensure to the unemployed labourer ? A miserable pittance, scarcely enough to support life; in short, not enough to support life, excepting for a short period. Two shillings a-week each for full grown persons, and one shilling a-week each for children, I have been assured, are the ulmost allowances made in many of our manufacturing towns to persons destitute of employment. Thousands of poor creatures are constrained to accept this wretched boon in the hope of keeping body and soul together till the arrival of better times; but while thus starving by inches they acquire innumerable diseases, under which many sink, and others live but to hand them to their posterity.
But if distress continue long, even this miserable pittance must fail. The almost immediate effect of the poor laws is to increase the number of poor; many, who could otherwise have obtained the necessaries of life, are by the operation of the poor laws reduced to beg parish relief. A manufacturer of Frome lately told me, that in Frome alone four thousand persons were wanting employment, and that although they were relieved at the above trifling rate, even that could not be continued, must be lowered. He added that the present year's poor-rate would exceed their rental in amount, and that many of the lesser tradesmen were, and more would be, on the poor-book. Whence, then, can relief come?
purses of the rich seem to be tbe only immediate resource ; but these, I fear, judging from past experience, will be but partially opened. The members of the executive government, as a portion of the rich and acquiring their riches directly from the suffering people, ought to come forward most liberally. Some of them have already opened their purses, and handed over a small portion of their immense incomes to aid their starvinz brethren ; but many of them are callous to the call of their suffering fellowmen, and dead to humanity.
Many persons think that the legislature has it in its power to remove the evil. By materially contracting their expenditure the members of the executive may greatly benefit the country at large, and it would have some, though but little, effect towards bettering the condition of the labouring class ; but I do not think that much immediate good could be done by legislation. - To supply money from the treasury is but to extend the system of poor laws; a system which, if acted upon according to the intention of its founders, would eventually make us all paupers.
The philanthropist would fain persuade himself that these assertions are unfounded. Whenever he sees misery existing, he wishes to remove it, and he attempts to believe that there are means of doing it. Philanthropy is a noble feeling, without it life is a burden to its possessor; but in order to be a benefactor to mankind it is not sufficient to love them, it is necessary to study the science of man, his position in the world and relation to the objects wbich surround him : it is necessary to know mankind in order to effectually serve them.
The history of every civilized community, of long duration, pre. sents us with instances of distress similar to what we are at present experiencing. The natural cause, the foundation of the evil, bas always been the same, and till this be removed the same disastrous effects will be occasionally felt. On a first examination, when we discover that the evil results from a cause inherent in man, the mere philanthropist might be inclined to give up all thoughts of removing it as being impracticable, and confine himself to the task of alleviating the evil as much as possible when its effects are felt. But not so with the philosophical lover of mankiod : he searches even to the root of the evil, and at last finds that a preventative is at hand, only requiring that the majority of mankind should understand and adopt it. To the often-abused political economists are we indebted for a guide to this valuable knowledge, a knowledge which, when once generally obtained, will enable mankind to remove, not only the now oft-recurring evil of thousands dying from starvation, but many others which are now immoveable; in short, offers them the means to increase the general happiness almost indefinitely.
When the principle of population was first broached it was thought to seal the hopes of the philanthropist, to fix a boun-,