Societies, not less than individuals, reap as they have sowed; and in the convulsions and revolutions of our times, Rome is reaping the fruit of ages of superstition and despotism. The Papacy at this moment is fighting its third great battle. Its first was with the empire; in that it was victorious. Its second was with Christianity, in the persons of its Albigensian and Waldensian confessors; and in that, too, it was victorious. Its third great war is that which it is now waging with an ATHEISTIC COMMUNISM, which has risen contemporaneously, and with extraordinary intensity and power, in all the Catholic countries of Europe. Whence has come this new and destructive principle? It is the natural issue of the bondage in which the human mind has so long been retained,--of the violence done to reason and faith,--for superstition is the parent of atheism. The national mind in France long struggled to find vent through means of Christianity. This was denied it. It next sought liberty in scepticism, which speedily terminated in atheism. With French infidelity came French democracy. We have already said that the democratic element entered the world with Christianity, and revived again in the Reformation of John Calvin. There is this difference, however, that whereas the doctrine of Calvin would have given true liberty,--constitutional government,--to Europe, the doctrine of Voltaire gave it an anarchy which baptized itself in blood. Scepticism, engendered thus from superstition, has overspread Europe, and set free the masses from all divine control, and, by necessary consequence, from all earthly authority. The brood of revolutions which now torments Europe is the progeny of Rome. From her own loins has sprung the hydra that threatens to tear her in pieces. The sorceress of the Seven Hills, like the Hag of Pandemonium, is now
"With terrors and with clamours compass'd round
Of mine own brood, that on my bowels feed."
Herein lies the grand difficulty of governments, and especially of the popedom,--that the superstition which, while it was a principle of belief, enabled them to govern the masses as they would, is a principle of belief no longer. With superstition their power has departed. The element which endowed the Papacy, as the governing power of Europe, with a sort of omnipotence, is extinct. Both governments and the popedom have meanwhile replaced the spiritual element by the merely physical. Everywhere a paternal despotism has given way to a military tyranny. But how long can this last? When the habit of blind, unreasoning obedience has been destroyed, it cannot last long; so at least it appears to us. Were any great change to occur, of a nature fitted to bring about a mental enthralment throughout Europe, the Papacy might become as strong as before, and might govern Europe for centuries to come; but so long as it continues to lean upon the sword, and to be hated by the masses as at once an impostor and an oppressor, the chances are not great that it will regain its power. The alliance of the priesthood with an expiring and worn-out despotism will not tend to the strengthening of the popedom. The popular vengeance was directed full against the priesthood in the first French Revolution, because the priesthood had been thoroughly identified with the government. In 1830 the priests were again the objects of attack, because the elder Bourbons had made them political auxiliaries. In 1848 they escaped, because they had not meddled previously with politics. Their present identification with the governing powers all over the Continent is sure to render them again the objects of popular vengeance.
As a drought upon the waters, so has infidelity wasted and dried up the vitalities of Roman Catholicism. Socialism is the evil angel which God has sent forth to smite the host of his enemies. It is a moral simoom. The Reformation was a messenger of good tidings,--a preacher of repentance; but men repented not; and the messenger returned to Him who had sent him. Communism comes next: it rounds the doom of the papal world, and announces that the hour of judgment is come. Wherever infidelity is strong, Popery is weak. Pantheism is spread all over northern Germany, and it is difficult to say whether it has been more fatal to Protestantism or to Romanism. Along the Rhine, if one may believe the published reports, there are millions of atheists. Still rationalism has lost ground among the upper classes. The universities begin to be leavened with an evangelical and believing spirit, and some of the more influential of the clergy have experienced a religious revival. The "Inner Mission" of Germany is working vigorously, printing tracts and old devotional works, forming Bible Societies, and instituting Christian circulating libraries. These efforts, which extend into Saxony and Protestant Bavaria, and part of Westphalia, if not impeded by the reactionary tendencies of the government, must speedily work a change on Germany, which had retrograded far behind the shadow of the Reformation. Switzerland closely resembles Germany, as regards the spread of infidelity; only there the evil exists in a mitigated form. France is more than ever overspread by the disciples of Voltaire. The late revolution has produced a re-action among the upper classes in favour of the Church. The children of the Encyclopedists carry consecrated tapers, and kiss the hand of the priest, in the hope that he may lead the impassioned masses from the political arena into the silent halls of penitence. The device is seen through and contemned. The lower orders, instead of being conciliated, are becoming every day more hostile, and are likely to continue so, so long as the government and the priesthood pursue their reactionary and coercive course. In all the Catholic countries north of the Alps, we see the same indications of the decline of Catholicism which, according to Gibbon, signalized the decline of Paganism: the cathedrals are in great measure deserted, and the few who do frequent them are mostly women and elderly gentlemen. Enter Notre Dame in the forenoon of a Sabbath, and in an edifice that would accommodate from ten thousand to twenty thousand, you find a congregation of some three or four hundreds, and these mostly ladies and gentlemen who were born under the old regime. The modern Parisians go to the clubs or the Boulevards. In Lyons, the ecclesiastical capital of France, matters are in much the same state. In its numerous and magnificent cathedrals the priests sing mass in presence of a few hundreds, while the thousands of the city outside are intent on their labours or their amusements. As a mission-field there are few more inviting than France. We find Dr. Merle D'Aubigné bearing his testimony to this fact at a recent meeting of the Foreign Aid Society in London. "The Lord has breathed on this country," writes our evangelist in the east of France; "the way is open everywhere, and I do not know which way to turn." "It is impossible not to have meetings," says another; "for no sooner does one enter a house than all the neighbours come in also." You know that we have churches in Burgundy, full of spiritual life, who missionize, and are composed entirely of converted Romanists. Has Dr. Wiseman any churches in England entirely made up of converted Protestants? It has happened that entire parishes almost have declared that they would leave the Pope, and have invited a minister of Christ to come and dwell among them; and the municipalities have offered to defray all expenses of the service. Have you in England whole parishes which go over to Popery?" At the recent census in Paris, many thousands of Romanists registered themselves in the Protestant column, while others signified their wish for some better religion than Popery.
South of the Alps infidelity has not taken such root. In Spain the Romish Church has shared deeply in the decline which has fallen on that unhappy country. A large portion of the ecclesiastical property has been appropriated by the State; and there are now in Spain bishops without revenues, and parishes without curés. We have occasion to know, that among the young priesthood of Spain, there are not a few earnest inquirers. They have begun to canvass the foundations of the Pope's authority; and some of them have openly declared to Protestant ministers from Britain that it will never be well with the Spanish Church till it has thrown off the authority of the Roman bishop; a step of reformation which would lead to other and greater reforms. A Protestant mission stationed at Gibraltar could at this moment act with effect both upon the south of Spain and the adjoining coast of Africa. The Spanish laity are ready to receive the gospel; the priests are contemned, but feared.
In the important kingdom of Piedmont a severe blow has lately been dealt the Romish Church. The parliament at Turin has abolished a variety of ecclesiastical privileges, and among others, the exemption of the clergy from the secular tribunals, the right of churches to afford sanctuary to criminals, and the abolition of penalties for the non-observance of holidays. The constitutional path on which the government has entered affords a guarantee for the permanence of these necessary changes. In the resurrection of churches at the expiry of the dark ages, Bohemia was the first to cast away her shroud: it is an auspicious omen that her grave is again opening. The Protestant church in Prague, under the Rev. Frederic Kossuth, now numbers eleven hundred members. Of these, seven hundred are converted Romanists, among whom are included three ecclesiastics. Thus that pure light which shone in the ministry of John Huss is risen again, and is shining on those who sat in darkness. We trust it will not be now as formerly, when first it was extinguished in blood, and next stifled by the fogs of error; but that this time its dawn will pass into day, soon to lighten the whole land of Huss. It is an equally remarkable sign of our times, that the true apostolic Roman Church,--the Waldensian,--has obtained political enfranchisement from her earthly sovereign, and spiritual revival from her heavenly King. After the death-like silence of ages, her voice is heard once more among her ancient valleys. The turtle-dove, chased so long by the fowler, sings again among the Alps. Oh that her song may truly be,--"Lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone!" Among the perishing kingdoms of Italy, it goes well with Piedmont at this hour, because she harbours the remnant of the early Christian Church. The Waldensians are preparing for missionary operations in Italy, for which, as an Italian-speaking people, they are peculiarly fitted. In the duchy of Tuscany an intense thirst has been awakened for the Word of God. A few weeks ago, Count Guicciardini assured the writer that there were now in that little state three hundred persons in the judgment of charity savingly converted; that hundreds more were reading the Scriptures, which, in instances not a few, were brought into the country in the knapsacks of Austrian soldiers; that the tracts of D'Aubigné, and M'Crie's "Italy," were being circulated in thousands of copies; and that, whatever might become of the population, it is, speaking generally, lost to Romanism. Lombardy, too, is the scene of a religious movement. There numerous Christian Churches exist, though in secret, with both an ecclesiastical and financial organization. These disciples are often tracked by the sleuth-hounds of the Inquisition. The oath of the confessional, which may not be violated to prevent a murder or a robber, is readily broken to denounce a Bible-reader. When Pio Nono was a professed liberal, the Austrian police permitted the circulation of the Scriptures in Lombardy; and the Croats stabled their horses in the churches, and anointed their shoes with the holy chrism; but now that the Pope is Austrian in politics, the Croat and the Jesuit go hand in hand in suppressing the Bible, and maintaining the cause of a Church which is founded upon the Inquisition, and to which Lucifer has promised that the power of truth shall never prevail against her.
Not Lombardy only, but all Italy, is awakening. An immense number of Bibles were circulated in that country during the Republic, by the presses of Florence, and the British and Foreign Bible Society; and the stringent measures of the Italian governments have not been able to arrest the movement then commenced. There exists in Italy a large Christian Association, which numbers among its members not a few priests. Its affairs are managed by a central committee, which issues its orders to inferior or diocesan committees. Churches have been formed in most of the principal towns, not excepting Rome itself. A large chest receives the offerings of the laity and the contributions of the priests, who, in relation to this association, are termed ministers. The money thus collected is devoted to the purchase of Bibles and the circulation of religious tracts and catechisms, and also to the support of poorer members. The Italians evince, above all things, a thirst for the Word of God; and often do they meet, in parties of half a dozen, in solitary places, and in the midst of morasses, to read the Bible and celebrate their worship, as did the Lollards of England and the Covenanters of Scotland. Beginnings such as these cannot but be blessed. It augurs well for the thoroughly apostolic character of the coming Italian Church, that not man, but the Bible, has been its teacher. And the analogies of all history deceive us if Providence do not order the political affairs of that country, so that these confessors may have an opportunity of declaring themselves before the world, before the Papacy's destruction. The true Roman Church will rise from her tomb to condemn the harlot. He that took Lot out of Sodom before its overthrow,--He who drew off the legions from Jerusalem, that the disciples might flee from the devoted city,--will yet, despite the consociated and sanguinary vigilance of the Croat, the Jesuit, and the Gaul, call these Christians out of Babylon, that they may not be partakers of her plagues.
We do not look that Italy shall become Protestant, at least to the extent of being nationally so. The stage of great iniquities must first be purified by great judgments. Nevertheless, a remnant will be saved. But we would be doing injustice to our own strong convictions did we not declare, that what we believe to be a-coming on the Papacy is not victory, but doom. The judgments of God are a great deep. The Papacy persecuted the confessors of old under the pretence that they were atheists and rebels. And now the Church that so long fought with the phantom is called to grapple with the substance. Rome stands face to face with an atheism which has for its mission the overthrow of all government and all religions. A destroying communism is making head, and will make head, there is reason to think, till universal and tremendous overthrow sweep away the Papacy, with all the power that has upheld it. This dark presentiment already oppresses the minds of its adherents. In terror of the "Red Spectre," they run to throw themselves into the arms of the northern colossus. This will not save them. The communism of the west will be found stronger than the despotism of the north. At the first revolution the people set up the guillotine; and now they are smarting for it. This time it is the kings who have set up the guillotine. One other revolution of the wheel, and the drama will close; "For the Lord shall rise up as in Mount Perazim; He shall be wroth, as in the Valley of Gibeon, that He may do his work, his strange work, and bring to pass his act, his strange act, . . a consumption, even determined upon the whole earth." For Britain we have no fear. The hostile attitude now taken up against her by the entire popish world does not dismay us. A year's peace with Rome will do us more damage than a hundred years' war. We believe that God has chosen Britain to stand erect as a monument of the truth of Protestantism, when the popish kingdoms shall lie crushed and overthrown.
But while we thus avow our convictions, it is well for all to bear in mind that the Papacy is still powerful, and has possession of many strong positions: it is backed by all the strength of governments; it has a perfect organization,--numerous agents, trained to prompt and unreasoning obedience; it has energy and zeal; it has union, which is sadly wanting in the opposite camp; it has the traditions of its former power, and the fruits of its past experience; it has men of varied and great accomplishments arrayed on its side; it has something positive to offer to the people, whereas socialism is a negation to a great degree; it is still strong, above all, in the evil principles of the heart of man, and the corruptions of society. Human nature is still unchanged. Men in the mass are still as fond as ever of a religion which will render the hope of heaven compatible with the indulgence of their passions. Moreover, though scepticism has set free the masses from the Papacy in the first place, it may in its ulterior effects contribute to their return. Its effect is to weaken the mind, and to prepare it for acquiescing in any absurdity; and should a recoil take place, which is possible in the case of men wearied of suffering and disappointed by the failure of their schemes, then, just as we have seen the mind of Europe pass from superstition to scepticism, so might we see it again pass from scepticism to superstition; and thus would the revolution return to the point from which it started. The very possibility of such an occurrence, fraught as it would be with tremendous consequences to both liberty and religion, is enough, surely, to rouse every Christian to ask what he can do to aid in overthrowing the Papacy. Now is the time to act, without the loss of a day. A few years hence the conflict will be decided, and the fate of Europe and of Protestantism sealed for centuries.
The work properly is twofold. There is first the overthrow of existing barriers; and second, the introduction of the truth. The destruction of those despotisms which have been all along the great props of the Papacy,--the alter egos of the Pope,--is the work of God. He will provide the agency for this part of the labour: it is not that kind of work which He usually assigns to his people. This, as it appears to us, is the end to be accomplished by present revolutions. Their mission is to batter down the strongholds of darkness, and to open a pathway, along which Christianity may advance to bless the nations.
But the second part is the work to which God specially calls his friends. But how? In what way are they to work? Now, here we have no ingenious or startling plan to propound, promising brilliant results, without much pains, and in short time. We believe that there is no royal road to the evangelization of the world. But though our plan is simple, we believe it to be practicable, and the only one that is practicable in present circumstances. Well, then, we must concentrate our efforts, and make the blow fall where it will do most execution. Rome is the head and heart of modern paganism,--the fountain of temporal and spiritual tyranny: let us strike at Rome. Could we displace Popery and plant Christianity in Rome, the loss would be unspeakable to the Papacy,--the gain would be immense to Protestantism. Let us estimate the loss on the one side,--the gain on the other. First, Rome is the see of Peter (in papal logic); and it is as the occupant of Peter's see that the Pope claims the primacy and the rank of Christ's Vicar; therefore, should he lose the see of Peter, he loses that on which he founds the whole of his claim. After that, he would not have a shadow of ground for the primacy. Not all the casuists or councils of Rome could by fair reasoning help him out of that difficulty. Of whatever see he was bishop, if not bishop of Rome, he is not Peter's successor,--is not Christ's Vicar,--is not Pope. But second, so extended an organization as the Papacy, in order to its efficient working, must necessarily have a centre, where are placed the headquarters of all its missions and agencies. That point is Rome. Should we possess ourselves of that point, we break up the organization of Rome at its centre, and cripple and derange it to its very circumference. But third, there is, as experience has proved, a certain mysterious connection between the possession of Rome and the fate of the Papacy. It has never thriven away from it. Rome gives prestige to the Romish system: it gives unity to it: it operates as a potent spell upon the Papist in the remotest quarters of the globe. Rome has ever been to the popes, in the old maxim, urbs et orbis. Now, it is of consequence even to destroy that influence, by breaking the tie between Romanism and Rome. This threefold loss would the Christianization of Rome inflict upon the Papacy. It would be a blow at the root of its system; it would incurably derange its organization, and would strip it of its prestige. The gain to Christianity would be proportionate. It would furnish it with a powerful centre of action, and place at the service of the gospel all the exterior helps which the possession of Rome and of Italy has given to Popery,--a land whose resources are almost inexhaustible, and a people who, to the power of forming the largest plans, and the ability to prosecute them with steadiness, would add the fervour and zeal of converts. The moment, we repeat, is singularly opportune: it is one of those rare occasions which occur at the interval of ages, to test the Church whether she has wisdom to seize upon it. Scepticism has set loose the masses from Rome, speaking generally; but scepticism is too much of a negation to retain its power over them for any length of time. Smitten by a destroying revolution, heartsick with the failure of their plans and hopes, they must and they will seek something more positive than infidelity. There are some such aspirations already springing up. German rationalism is on the point of being renounced. Even socialism turns its face towards Christianity. As we have seen the blind turn his sightless orbs to that quarter of the sky where the sun was, so socialism, amid the horrors of its night, seems faintly to descry the great effulgence of the gospel. We may be assured that the nations must soon have something higher and better than pantheism: they already begin to feel after the "Unknown;" and if they find not truth, they will embrace error; and how long they may continue under its power, who can tell? This, then, is a great crisis in the world's history. Let every Christian feel as if he were the only Christian in Britain, and as if the issue of the crisis depended upon himself. Let him give his prayers; let him give his labours; let him give his money. Ye Christians of Britain, the voice of Providence loudly summons you to the conflict. Arise,--arise instantly; arise as one man. You have everything on your side. You have the prayers of the martyrs, whose blood the Papacy has shed, on your side. You have the prayers of oppressed nations, who now accuse and curse the Papacy as their destroyer, on your side. Above all you have the promises of God, which dooms that system to perdition, on your side. "Up, for this is the day in which the Lord hath delivered" the Papacy "into thine hand."
But what are the means? If asked what is the first mean to regenerate Italy, we answer, the Bible; if asked what is the second, we answer, the Bible; if asked what is the third, we answer, the Bible. God is plainly announcing by his providence that He will overthrow the Papacy, regenerate Italy, and save the world, by his Word, to the exclusion of all else. No missionary could enter Italy at this moment; but the Bible will, can, and has entered Italy, and even Rome. There are two doors by which we can send the Bible into Italy at present. We can convey it by the Simplon, the great highway from Switzerland into Italy. Covering this entrance, as it were, we have the Waldensian Church, ready and eager to assist us in this good work. Besides, the Austrian sway in Lombardy is milder than the Sacerdotal government in the States of the Church; and in Lombardy and the adjoining parts of Italy it is quite practicable at this moment to distribute Bibles by colporteurs. The other door is of course on the west. There are three free ports on that side of Italy,--Genoa, Leghorn, and Civita Vecchia. Let Bibles be conveyed thither. They cannot be refused admission, being free ports; and from these places it is quite practicable despite the Pope's myrmidons, to convey them all over Italy. This may be done by colporteurs; but they must be prudent men. They must not offer them on the streets; they must carry them by threes and sixes in their pocket, or secreted about their persons, and distribute them privately.
How encouraging the fact, that the Romans, and the Italians in general, are ready to receive the Bible,--are most earnestly desirous of having it! This fact has been well attested by a variety of evidence. The following beautifully simple and touching narrative contains all that we could wish on that head, and shows how much encouragement we have to embark in this work. It is the address, as reported in the public prints, of Dr. Achilli, at a Bible Society meeting in this country:--"You are aware that I am just come from Rome. My great work in Rome was about the Bible. I knew that the Bible alone is able to produce a religious revolution. When I speak of a revolution, I mean an entire change of man in his relations with God, with society, and with himself. This change in an individual is quiet; but in the masses it is agitated, because very often it is a rapid change of a whole system. This revolution I desire for the whole world, beginning at Rome. It was in the days of political liberty that the New Testament of Jesus Christ was published in Rome for the first time. At the same moment copies of the complete Bible were introduced, published by the English Bible Society. I and my friends showed this beloved book to the Romans, who were not slow in asking us for it. Our manner of presenting it was simple. We had the book in our pockets when we introduced topics of religion, and quoted on purpose texts of Scripture. We then took it out of our pockets, and read the quotations out of it. I found it better not to offer it, but to let them ask for it, and even as much as possible to let them be anxious to get it. When I gave it, I used always to exact a promise that they would often read it,--perhaps every day. I had the pleasure of seeing in many shops groupes of persons round the shop-keeper, the latter reading aloud the Bible which I had given him. The Bible was in the Constituent Assembly, in several public offices, and in several military quarters. Many soldiers defended their country on the walls of Rome with the Bible in their pockets. You will ask me, What effect has the Bible produced in Rome? I will tell you. I do not think anything can better answer your question than the encyclical letter of Pio Nono, in which he exclaims against the Bible, the missionaries of the Bible, the Bible Societies, &c.; because, he says, in this way Protestantism,--that is, pure Christianity,--has entered into Rome, and into many other parts of Italy. I might tell you that, after the Bibles were distributed, Roman churches were quite left by the people, very few going any longer to confession. They talked about religion in the houses, in the clubs, in the streets, and in the shops. It was not only the Pope-king, but it was the Pope-bishop, that they thought about. It is quite certain that the Pope is more afraid of this book than of the republican bayonets, because he knows that this is able to destroy his throne in the Vatican." To this minute and interesting account it is unnecessary to add a single word.
We are to march against Rome, then, with the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. But how are Bibles to be provided? We redeemed the slaves in the West Indies with a sum of twenty millions: shall we grudge twenty millions of Bibles to redeem Italy from a worse slavery? Would it not be a noble act,--BRITAIN GIVES TO ITALY TWENTY MILLIONS OF BIBLES? Can it be that there is not enough of Christianity in Britain for this? Oh, in this age of great schemes, let us devise liberally for the evangelization of the world. Twenty millions of Bibles, which would cost about one and a half millions of pounds, would put a Bible into the hand of every man, woman, and child in Italy, from the Alps to Sicily. But this number is not required; one-fifth would suffice. Five millions of Bibles would give a copy of the sacred volume to every family in Italy. Let, then, every Christian family in Britain give but two copies of the Word of God for Italy, and the object is achieved. This would be an expense of but a few pence to each professing Christian. We want nothing but a plan and organization for an effort on an adequate scale. What we propose, then, is, that this plan, or some similar one that is definite and adequate, be put before the country. Let the Christian public be told the greatness of the crisis, the desire of the Italians for the Word of God, and how small an effort on the part of each can achieve all that is wanted; and let Italian committees be formed all over the country,--a small one in every town, or perhaps in every congregation. Were machinery set a-going, the sum needed would be easily and speedily realized. We ought to aim at a large and specific object, in which we will more easily succeed than in a smaller aim. Sixpence a-head from the professing Christians of Britain would furnish the requisite copies of the Word of God for an effective blow at the Papacy in Rome. Nothing is wanting but concentration and organization among British Protestants. Let no one stay back. "Curse ye Meroz," said the angel of the Lord, "because they came not forth to the help of the Lord, to the help of the Lord against the mighty." Let British Christians be told that it is a united effort they are to make for the overthrow of the Papacy, for which they have long been praying, and which the blood of the martyrs, still unavenged, the groans of enslaved nations, and the commands and promises of the living God, call upon them to essay. The cry is now loud; creation itself travails and is in pain for the hour. The very earth which Popery has cursed and blighted cries to Heaven against her! The cities she has depopulated, the kingdoms she has barbarized, supplicate the awards of doom on their destroyer! The cretin of Switzerland, as he titters his idiot whine,--the serf of the once rich Lombardy, and the beggar of the once proud Venice, as they ask an alms,--protest against a tyranny which has crushed them into wretchedness and idiotcy The murdered liberties of Hungary,--the clanking chains of the twenty thousand captives of Ferdinand,--the very streets of Vienna, and of Paris, and of Naples, and of Rome, so lately drenched with the blood of their children, cry for vengeance on the Papacy! Her own sins cry against her. The souls of the martyrs under the altar cry, "O Lord, how long!" Prophets and apostles, whom she has compelled to an unholy partnership in her idolatries, join in this cry! The cherubim and the seraphim, whom she invoked when she immolated her victims, cry from their thrones! Heaven and earth unite in one mighty cry to the throne of the Eternal! And shall British Christians sit still? Shall they only be unmoved? No. Let them arise; and if they strike in faith, the Papacy shall fall.
The Papacy once overthrown, what blessed prospects will begin to dawn upon our wretched and benighted world, wretched and benighted from lack of enterprise, union, and liberality among Christians! Let the Papacy be overthrown, and thou, Oh Christianity, the parent of liberty, the fountain of domestic purity and social order, whose office it is to guide alike to terrestrial renown and to immortal happiness, wilt go forth among the nations; and when they see the glory of thy form, they will love thee, and, in loving thee, they will love one another. At the sound of thy voice proclaiming peace, their angry passions will be hushed, and the tumult of the people will subside into profound and blessed repose. Touched by thy beneficent and omnipotent hand, their bleeding wounds shall be stanched, and their fetters for ever broken. Cheered by thee, they will forget all their woes; and their voices, attuned no longer to sorrow and sighing, will make the whole earth vocal with their songs of gladness.
 Evangelical Alliance, 1851 German Statistics, by Dr. Krummacher. [Back]
 "The Record," June 2, 1851. [Back]
 In "Bell's Weekly Messenger" of April 15, 1850, we find, in a letter dated Madrid, April 3, some interesting notices respecting the present state of the Catholic Church in Spain. "There are few bishops in Spain that leave anything." . . . . The writer assigns their miserable re venues as the cause. "I am personally acquainted with the Bishop of Segovia, who had assured me that during the whole of the year 1849 he did not receive a farthing of his salary, and was obliged to live, like the 'master of Ravenswood,' by the ingenuity of his servant. Only think of a bishop of Segovia (once one of the fattest sees in Spain) living alone with an old toothless servant in an immense palace,--a palace which appears worthy to be the residence of a king. . . . . Parish priests are now getting scarce, just as they did in France some years ago. Not a week passes without the Gazette containing circulars from different bishops, notifying vacancies in their dioceses. To-day, for instance, the Bishop of Tarragona announces no less than sixty-two." [Back]
 Krasinski's History of Slavonia, p. 409, second edition. [Back]
 Evangelical Alliance, 1851 ; Italian Statistics, by Dr. Achilli. [Back]
 The decay and probable extinction of church power has for some time past been apprehended by politicians. We quote the following remarkable words of Sir James Macintosh:--"Did we not dread the ridicule of political prediction, it would not seem difficult to assign its period. Church power (unless some revolution auspicious to priestcraft should replunge Europe in ignorance), will certainly not survive the nineteenth century." (Vindiciae Gallicae, p. 99.) [Back]
 For instance, the censorship of the press originated with Pope Alexander Borgia. During the eleven years of his beastly pontificate, from 1492 to 1503, while the poison bowl and the stiletto were under no control, the circulation of books was put under ban. It was the same Pope, inspired by conscious cowardice, who built the long viaduct between the Vatican palace and the Bastile dungeon of St. Angelo, which was pulled down in the revolution of 1848. Popes are the same in all ages. The ninth Pius, in his encyclical letter, anathematizes the "new art of bookmaking,"--Novae artis librariae; and has rebuilt the covered gallery between St. Angelo and the Vatican. [Back]
Back to Present Policy and Prospects of the Papacy Index
Back to Overview
Back to the Home Page