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Romish religion, but leaves every Romanist free to profess and teach his own opinions.
We may be permitted, perhaps, to suggest to the prompters of the Church of Rome at the present crisis, the desirableness of acting with caution in the difficult enterprise of reconverting our country. It may be doubted whether it will be safe for his Holiness and the Propaganda to lend a too ready ear to the sanguine representations of Cardinal Wiseman and Father Newman; for there can hardly be a doubt that there has been a grievous miscalculation of the extent to which England sympathised with the feelings of the Tractarians. Perhaps it would be better that Pio Nono should yet for a while confine his efforts to unceasing supplications to the Virgin. Let him wait not only till she has winked,' but 'nodded' assent.
It may be doubted, also, whether the 'assumption,' of the title of 'bishop,' even apart from that of local or territorial designation, be very wise; since, if the term be thought dangerous, by the perverse Protestants, they have it inevitably in their power to cheapen it just as much as they please. The title will not be forbidden by legislative enactment; neither ought it to be, being the name of a purely spiritual and religious functionary. Now if the various denominations of Christians should take it into their schismatical heads that the term, as confined to certain churches, may convey too strong a tang of 'apostolical succession' and 'sacramental efficacy,' and be apt to perpetuate error among the vulgar, what will they do but give the title to every Christian minister just as it is given in the New Testament? Nor will the learned think this inconsistent; for it is the
* The time of the 'Papai Aggression,' as it was called.
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proper scriptural term for the true ruler of a Christian Church (whoever may be the true), and each sect of course must think the best right to it to rest with its own ministers. By the confession of all who are entitled to give any opinion on the subject, by the authority of all the best critics, the names 'bishop' and 'presbyter' are everywhere interchangeable in Scripture; and since each denomination believes its ministers to be, if not the only, still the truest and most genuine types of the Christian 'bishop,'- each denomination will name its ministers or pastors by that envied title, qualifying the genus, of course, as usual, by the differentia of Anglican Presbyterian, Congregational, and so forth. This,' they will say, 'would soon do more to disabuse the public mind of all irrational prejudices and pseudo-sacred associations than probably any thing else; and also compel the Roman Catholic bishops to employ the proper discriminating epithet. It would cheapen down the term to truth and sobriety.' What with Anglican bishops, or bishops of the Established Church, Roman Catholic bishops, Presbyterian bishops, Congregational bishops, Wesleyan bishops, and Unitarian bishops, men would be ready to parody Dean Swift's grace after his surfeit of variously-dressed rabbits :
'Bishops ancient, bishops new,
Bishops tender, bishops tough;
We thank the Pope we've had enough.'
The world is ruled by names; and the Roman Catholic Bishop would be ready in a twelvemonth to sigh for the more obscure, but less ignoble title of 'Vicar Apostolic.' The innovation might be a little
ridiculed, it is true, for a time, but it would outlive that. Whether, indeed, the various advocates of different modes of ecclesiastical government, who acknowledge that the term 'Bishop' is the proper scriptural appellation of a minister of a Christian Church, and that their ministers in particular most aptly and truly represent him, are not justly open to ridicule and contempt for pusillanimously declining that name, and using any other than the one they most approve, it is for them to consider.
We may also humbly venture to suggest whether, if the conversion of England is to be effected at all, it be desirable to proceed quite so incautiously and ostentatiously as in the recent movement. By exciting the jealousies of a powerful nation, it may end in a war of reprisals. It may be mooted. among Protestants, whether it does not become them to emulate that zeal for the extension, and manifestation of perfect religious liberty among Catholic nations which Cardinal Wiseman is so anxious should pervade his native land. And although none would recommend them to do as the Pope has done deliberately break the existing laws of other countries, or erect Protestant sees, with territorial jurisdiction annexed, without consulting the wishes and obtaining the permission of the countries thus favoured,- though, we say, they cannot do this, not having even the power of 'dispensing' with the ordinary requirements of diplomatic etiquette, or of granting 'indulgences' for any peccadilloes of ecclesiastical caprice; yet there are other methods, not less effective, in which they may manifest their sincere desire not to be outdone in the sublime love of perfect religious liberty. Perhaps they will not be disposed to allow the matter to terminate in a mere renewal of the controversy with
the Roman See; they may bestir themselves with greater activity than ever for the propagation of liberal opinions among surrounding nations. With such power and wealth, with the press so largely at her command, with her ships in every port, England in her turn might, if she pleased, organise, by voluntary effort, a Propaganda which would be quite as effectual as the similar society at Rome. Protestantism may be roused to say with Luther, You have called for war: you shall have it.' Rome can, in these days of international activity and intercourse, adopt no 'continental system' which will effectually stop a contraband trade in truth and liberty; no 'cordon sanitaire,' which will effectually shut out that 'moral pestilence' which, as a recent pope has so strongly remarked, religious freedom and the toleration of opinion must necessarily bring with them! Whatever the Church of Rome is entitled to expect from Protestant Governments, Protestant Governments must be entitled to expect from the Church of Rome.
Nor can we think the present movement very wise even in relation to the Pope himself. We hear Englishmen every day saying-'It is as it ever was; the Holy Pontiff seems to be but an indifferent representative of the religion of peace. What a plague the Pope is! How tired we are of his very name! Crippled in power, and humbled in pretensions as compared with the Hildebrands and Innocents of other days, his voice is still the signal of discord as in past ages. He cannot touch any thing in Christendom, but it is sure to turn to bitterness. In what a turmoil has England been kept by his absurd pretensions! our whole nation divided into factions, and full of jealousies; our time, and patience, and energies consumed; our cabinets and legislatures absurdly oc
cupied in fruitless debates! He cannot make us fear him but he takes excellent care that we shall never Such will be the result, in tens of thou. sands of cases, of the unwise movement of 1850.
At one thing, indeed, in the recent movement we unfeignedly rejoice; and that is, at the obstreperous zeal on behalf of religious liberty, which many of our Roman Catholic fellow-subjects have manifested. It is impossible not to be edified with their lectures on this subject. Henceforth they will surely become the champions of religious toleration and intellectual freedom all the world over. The least we can expect is fraternal sympathy with every attempt to enlarge the liberties of their fellow-lieges of Rome in every quarter of the globe; unflinching opposition to every vestige of persecution; condemnation of the restrictions which prevent the expression or diffusion of any tenets of Protestantism. And if, as some suppose, Dr. Wiseman should hereafter become Pope, what bright auguries for Europe may not be conceived from those lofty sentiments of religious freedom that trembling solicitude, lest in any degree it should be violated those magnanimous appeals to degenerate Englishmen which his 'Letter to the People of England' displays! May we not fondly hope that on assuming the tiara he will lose no time in recommending, that in no part of Catholic Europe there be offered any obstruction whatever to the diffusion and expression of religious opinions, much less any punishment inflicted for such an offence? As our less aspiring and less consistent notions of religious liberty forbid us to allow Romish sees with 'territorial' designations to be erected amongst us, or counties,' to be 'governed' by Romish bishops without our leave, this may, perhaps, justify the future Pope in for