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out disguise, that though the British Roman Catholic may claim religious toleration, it is not as admitting the wisdom of extending such privileges to mankind in general, nor as conceding that, were his Church to regain the ascendancy, he ought to indulge in any weak reciprocity of a similar nature;-that the true principles of Rome are seen in every country of Europe wherever and whenever the policy of Rome can induce monarchs and their legislatures to second her desires; that if, accordingly, Roman Catholics demand from Protestants the amplest religious freedom, it is on the principles of Protestants, and not on their own, that they demand it; that, though heretics ought not to persecute the orthodox, the orthodox must and ought to persecute heretics; that error can have no right to coerce the truth, but that truth may and ought to coerce error. This is certainly, primâ facie, the most consistent extrication from our perplexities, and one which we have somehow a presentiment all ought to adopt on becoming Roman Catholics.

There is another method, indeed, of solution, but it is the 'mauvais pas' to the Roman Catholic theo. logian. It is a pass through the very heart of Protestantism, and none but the mountaineer of those regions can venture to trust his feet there; it is that of denying the infallibility of Popes and Councils, separately or conjointly, because, as Protestants object, their frequent contradictions of one another is undeniable, whatever tests or limitations you choose to apply for the fixing of the Protean thing. 'I see with my own eyes,' says Chillingworth, 'that Popes have been opposed to Popes, and Councils to Coun cils; that Popes have contradicted Councils and

Councils Popes;' 'our judge of controversies has become our greatest controversy.'

Lastly, there sometimes comes in among these embarras the quasi-philosopher of our day who has surmounted all vulgar notions respecting the necessity of attaining any thing certain and consistent on such subjects. He is one who has reached a sublime indifferentism at once to religion and to truth; who says to us much as Epicurus might have said to a heathen idolater, Why not take a shorter road? If you choose to affirm your belief in dogmas, and an approbation of practices which your heart renounces, and which you would not for the world practically exemplify in life and conduct; if you think proper to swear by formularies which have virtually become obsolete; if you find a consolation in repeating that the Church of Rome has never erred and never can, though you in effect admit that you would be inexorably resolved in many respects to act contrary to her decisions, laws, and principles, what does it signify? Can you not act, as Sheridan is said to have done, when his son told him that he had been down a coal pit (much to his father's horror), in order that he might have the pleasure of saying that he had? 'Well, you fool,' answered the father, and could you not say that you had been down without having been down?' Such a style of talk is all very well for those philosophers of whom Gibbon speaks when he says that, in their estimate, all religious systems are equally true, and for the statesmen in whose estimate they are all equally useful; but it will not do for Englishmen who cannot bring themselves to the ethics attributed to Sheridan. They desire to see men intelligible in their statements, frank, ingenuous, and honest in their conduct; they believe that to be

a true philosopher, the 'love of truth' must be only another name for the 'love of wisdom.' They decline being involved in paradoxes which would imperil the stability of any convictions. They feel that to affirm in words what they deny in fact is a dangerous condition of human nature.

Though we intend not any reflection on the loyalty or the patriotism of our Roman Catholic fellow-subjects, we see every now and then the results of a condition of unstable equilibrium resulting from the want of a thorough adjustment and determination of some of the points discussed in this article. Thus, Mr. J. O'Connell, who would, no doubt, be very unwilling to have the laws of the Church, as recently applied in Sardinia, applied here, cannot help apologising for the conduct of the Romish Church towards that country! Those ecclesiastical immunities,' which can be defended only on extreme ultramontane principles, but the abrogation of which he seems to think a wrong, he would, we venture to presume, protest against in England. Why then defend them or apologise for them there? Similar, but more dangerous, inconsistencies are seen in those senators who avow that they voted against their convictions on a recent motion, purely because they were determined, as Roman Catholics, to embarrass a government which (they contended) had insulted their religion; and who avow that they will continue to act on that principle! Precarious surely must be their theory of political duty. What are we to think of those Free-Traders, who so advised them? What should we say of the parallel case of Conservatives voting in favour of Mr. Locke King's motion avowedly against their convictions, in

*Times' Debate on Papal Aggression, Feb. 7. 1851.

order to spite Lord John Russell, because his Ecclesiastical Titles Bill did not, as they conscientiously thought, go far enough!

Another instance of this unstable equilibrium is seen in the proceedings of the Synod of Thurles. The attempt to obtain a papal rescript against the Colleges, seemed to Protestants, and to many Roman Catholics, (among them the Earl of Shrewsbury,) a factious interference with the undoubted civil rights of our country. That the nation, right or wrong in its views of the possibility of giving an education which may be useful to all without interfering with the perfect religious freedom of any, is at liberty to try the experiment of such a system, would seem undeniable; and as long as it is the will of the majority that the experiment should be tried, most people will think that it ought to be tried. The minority can, if they please, refuse to accept the benefit of such a system, and, if they believe it prejudicial, can endeavour to obtain its abrogation. All this is quite in harmony with the modes in which all such things are conducted amongst us. But that the experiment should be thwarted by an appeal to a foreign potentate, whether spiritual or temporal, by influences emanating from a distant and extra-national centre, and directed against a purely civil institute,-this, however consistent with the ultramontane theory of the Roman Catholic Church, is likely, we apprehend, to startle the loyalty and patriotism of many other British Roman Catholics besides the Earl of Shrewsbury. In truth, if institutions can be thus assailed, in which the very fault complained of is that the religion of Rome is simply left, with every other, to itself, it were hard to find any institutions amongst us against which, on similar, and far more plausible, grounds,

rescripts of popes might not be asked, and a foreign organisation factiously worked against them.

Of the wisdom of the opposition, if Rome wish to convert us, we say nothing. Many Protestants will certainly think that that opposition sprang, not from fears of Atheism, but from the dread of Knowledge; that if the priests had been confident of the superiority of their spiritual weapons, and of the force of their theological arguments, they would have said, 'Give the youth of Ireland as much knowledge as you please; we will take care to turn it to a right account. You cannot educate them religiously; you in this case leave that to us; we will take care to fulfil the duty well, and as it is more difficult to instruct the ignorant than the well-informed, we shall have an easier task. The Roman Catholic religion does not shun the light, as you falsely allege. Ignorance is not the mother of our devotion.' But as it is, multitudes will argue the other way, and suspect that the agitators feared lest in equal conflict Protestantism would prove the stronger.

The manner in which the Irish Roman Catholic laity will treat the recommendations of their ecclesiastics on this subject, will, in some degree, determine how far they are amenable to ultramontane influences, and prepared to receive the seemingly true theory of the Romish Church; - whether they have ceased or not to feel, as our forefathers, jealous of every foreign interference in our internal affairs. But if the synod are right, it is certain they ought to go much further. On the same principles, the Pope of Rome should be asked, à fortiori, for a rescript to condemn every civil institution amongst us; for none of them can possibly offer less ground of objection than one the very character of which is that it does not assail the

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