- The question, what is the duty of the Protestant community, considered-Shall there be an Anti-Popery Union?
- The strong manifesto that might be put forth by such a union-Such a political union discarded as impolitic and degrading to the Protestant community
- Golden opportunity for showing the moral energy of the Republic
- The lawful, efficient weapons of this contest-To be used without delay.
THERE is no question of more pressing, more vital importance to the whole country, than this: What is the duty of the Protestant community in the perilous condition to which religious as well as civil liberty is reduced by the attempts of Popery and foreign enemies upon our free institutions? Have Christian patriots reflected at all on the possible, nay, I will say probable loss of religious liberty; or in idea attempted to follow out to their result and in their immeasurable extent the fearful consequences of its loss? Why is it then, that no more energetic efforts are made to save ourselves?
Yet seek no shelter to avoid the storm;
We see the wind sit sore upon our sails,
And yet we strike not, but securely perish.
* * * * * * * *
We see the very wreck that we must suffer;
And unavoided is the danger now,
For suffering so the causes of our wreck.
Yes, the rocks are in full view on which American liberty must inevitably be wrecked, unless all hands are aroused to immediate action. Our dangers are none the less, be assured, because they are not those against which the general cry of alarm is so loudly raised by the two great political parties of the day. In the heedless strife they are now waging, the most superlative epithets of alarm have been already exhausted by each, on fictitious, or comparatively trivial dangers to the commonwealth. The public ear is deafened by their noise; its sense of hearing is grown callous with the reiterated cries of alarm on every slight occasion. “Wolf! Wolf!” has been so often falsely cried, that now, when the wolf has in reality appeared, we cannot be made to realize it. “If the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself for the battle?” We are busying ourselves in quenching the few falling sparks that threaten the deck of the ship without heeding the fire beneath, that is approaching the magazine. In this reckless warfare of passion, and falsehood, and slander, and aided by the deafening din of party strife, neither party seem to have observed that a secret enemy, an artful foreign enemy, has stolen in upon us, joining his foreign accents to swell the uproar, that he may with less suspicion do his nefarious work. Footnote: Dangers from a riotous spirit, and the kind of treatment due from Protestant Americans to Catholic Emigrants. All the topics which grow out of this momentous subject of Popery as their prolific parent, are of absorbing national interest, but no one forces itself upon our consideration more imperiously at this moment than that which heads this note. For, unless I am greatly deceived, the waking up of this great nation’s indignation, the shaking off of the lethargy which has so long held in unaccountable stupor the senses of the people, which has shut their eyes and stopped their ears to the proofs of foreign conspiracy which every where surround them, the mighty gathering of all real patriots to the defence of their liberties, which the sounds of preparation from all quarters of the land but too strongly indicate, may be attended with effects disastrous to the cause of true liberty, may produce through excess or ill-regulated zeal, the evil which it is desirous to remedy. For excess even in favor of right principles, doubles the amount of the evil which it attempts to cure. Excess of all kinds, whether in thought, word, or action, (oh! that this could be impressed on every American heart,) is just so much gain to the side of Popery. I know not how prevalent is error on this point, but I am persuaded that it exists to an extent to make an American tremble for the permanency of our democratic institutions.
Is there not a culpable acquiescence in the doings of a mob, if their violence is directed against some apparent or real irritating popular evil? Is not the language of such acquiescence most dangerous? It amounts to this; “Although we are averse to mob law, yet on the whole there are cases where the sin is venial, and the character of the nuisance it would abate justifies its violence.” Now once concede in ademocratic community, a community which makes its own laws according to modes prescribed by itself, that an irresponsible minority may set at defiance these laws, and then let me ask where is government? It is prostrated. It has become anarchy, and on the ruins of social order will arise another form of government more or less arbitrary, according to the more or less profound causes which effected the destruction of the first. Of all forms of government, a truly democratic government, while it is least obnoxious to the disturbing influences of mobs, can at the same time least of all bear the shocks of their turbulence. No events, therefore, that have occurred in the eventful history of the country, have so justly caused alarm for the stability of the government, as the spirit of mob violence which has lately manifested itself so frequently in our large cities. We should do well to remember that we have secret and artful enemies busily at work, who can and will take advantage of this unnatural state of the public feeling, and who will not fail secretly to administer fuel, in modes in which they are perfectly familiar, to a diseased excitement so favorable to their views.
We have in the country a powerful religious-politico sect, whose final success depends on the subversion of these democratic institutions, and who have therefore a vital interest in promoting mob- violence. The saying of the German ambassador concerning the Papists, (quoted in the prefatory remarks,) is full of meaning, and should be constantly borne in mind; it lets us into the secret of much of their manœuvering in this country; “they will be hammer or nails, they will persecute or be persecuted.” Where they are in power they always persecute; when not in power and consequently unable to persecute, they will be sure to conduct, either in so outrageous or mysterious, or deceptive a manner, as to rouse public indignation. They will contrive ingenious modes of irritation that shall draw upon them popular vengeance, and then all meekness and innocence, and resignation, raise the imploring cry of persecution. And how do they gain by these opposite modes? If they are strong enough to persecute, they will destroy their opponents, in obedience to the openly avowed principles of their sect, by exile, by dungeons, and by death. If they themselves are persecuted in a Protestant community, (Protestant principles being in known direct opposition to persecution,) it is always by an irreligious mob, acting in defiance of Protestant principle, and unsustained by public opinion, and the reaction of Protestant sympathy for the sufferers on any such occasion, more than makes amends by its gifts for the injury sustained. Thus the very virtues of Protestants growing out of principles directly antagonist to Popish principles, are made to work against Protestantism, and in favor of Popery. Do not Jesuits know the well known truth, that a sect is helped by a little persecution? Do they not now act upon a knowledge of it? And should not Americans replenish their memory with it also, that they may most rigidly abstain fromdisorder, and discountenance every disposition to riot or violence? Let them remember that the laws that govern them are their own laws, and they must not allow them to be broken. Let them suspect a Popish plot to rob them of their liberties in every disorderly assemblage, and by good order, by firmness of resistance to every temptation to riot, defeat the designs of these worst enemies of Democracy.
In close connection with this topic, is that of the kind of treatment which Protestant Americans should show to Catholic emigrants. On this subject a volume could be written. I have space but for a few remarks.
The condition of the Catholic emigrants that are daily pouring into the country from Germany and Ireland should awaken the strongest sympathies of Americans; and in whatever aspect viewed, should enlist all their feelings of benevolence. Reflect a moment who and what they are. We have read, and our own countrymen who have travelled and seen them in their native land, bear testimony to the effects upon the people of the grinding oppressions of Papal government; to the mental degradation, to the poverty, to the wretchedness of the vassals of despotism. And as if to prove to us what we might doubt on the authority of others, so sombre is their picture of human misery, the very subjects of foreign oppression are brought and placed before our eyes. See yonder ship slowly furling her sails. She approaches the city. She casts her anchor. Who are those that crowd her decks? With eager eyes they gaze in one direction. They see at length the far-famed land of liberty. Yes; its name has been wafted even to their ears, and with the longings of captives for freedom they have broken away from slavery and sought the asylum of the oppressed. They land upon our shores. Look, Americans, see before you the fruits of papal education! of papal care of the bodies and minds of its children. Filthy and ragged in body, ignorant in mind, and but too often most debased in morals, they fill your streets with squalid beggary, and your highways with crime; they are such a loathsome picture of degradation, moral and physical, that you turn away in disgust from the sight. But why should this be? They are human beings, although oppression has blotted out their reason and conscience and thought. They are the progeny of Popery; they are the victims of its iron despotism. It is Popery that has reared them up in its own caverns of superstition. They exhibit before you the blighting effects of this scourge of the earth. It is Popery that has filled their minds with puerile fables, closed their mental eyes in the darkness of ignorance, fleeced them of their property by systematic robbery, kept them from the knowledge of their natural rights as men to liberty of conscience, and of opinion, extorted an abject obedience to their fellow-men, to blasphemous usurpers of the prerogatives of Deity. Their ignorance is their lasting, fatal curse; theirreason and conscience stifled at their birth, they are cast upon our care mere human machines, for the fell usurpers of God’s power have torn out of them their very minds. To think for themselves, that inalienable right of a rational being, is rebellion against their priest; they read not, they understand not our charter of liberty. They love liberty, indeed, but what shape has liberty to men without minds? What perception of light has a sightless eye? Their liberty, is licentiousness, their freedom, strife and debauchery.
And now with what emotions should Protestants look on these suffering, deluded men? In what channel should their sympathies flow? They have already been beaten to the dust by tyranny. Is it for freemen to follow up the cruel blow of foreign tyrants? They have been brutalized by neglect; shall they now be hunted by proscription? Shall no Christian effort be made to light up again in their darkened bosoms the extinguished spark of humanity? They are followed into our habitations; yes, Americans, they are pursued into your own asylum of liberty by their foreign oppressors, who, like hungry wolves, have ventured with unhallowed feet into the very sanctuary of freedom to grasp again their scarcely escaped prey. And have Americans no compassion? Have they no courage? Will they not protect the oppressed? Will they not interpose between them and their priestly oppressors, and say to the latter, “Stand off; this is a land of freedom; these men are now American citizens. They have a right to American education; to republican education; to Bible education. They have a right to the knowledge that they owe no allegiance to priests, that here there are no forbidden books, that knowledge here is not meted out in scanty drops to serve the purposes of power grasping despots, but is spread out before them wide and deep as the ocean; that American laws protect them from ecclesiastical as well as civil proscription, from ecclesiastical as well as civil extortion, that they owe no obligation to pay an arbitrary tax of bishop or priest, that they have a right to know the amount, and the manner of disbursement, of every cent they are called on to contribute in church as well as state.”
Will not Americans teach them these truths, and aid them to break the chains with which foreign tyrants have bound them? or will they compel them, by proscription and persecution, or unfeeling neglect, to clan together around their priests, because deserted by those who should, and who alone can, undeceive and enlighten them? In the one case there is hope of incorporating them into the American republican family as useful fellow-citizens. In the other, there is the certainty of perpetuating a distinct foreign and hostile interest in the country, to distract its councils, to sully the peaceful character of its institutions, and finally to aid in the complete destruction of this stronghold, this last hope of Freedom.
Thou cunning’st pattern of excelling nature,
I know not where is the Promethean heat
That can thy light relume.”
Like incendiaries at a conflagration, they even cry fire! loudest, and are most ostentatiously busy in seeming to protect that very property which they watch but to make their prey.
What then can be done? Shall Protestants organize themselves into a political union after the manner of the Papists, and the various classes of industry and even of foreigners in the country? Shall they form an Anti-Popery Union, and take their places among this strange medley of conflicting interests? And why should they not? Various parties and classes do now combine and organize for their own interest; and if any class of men are allowed thus to combine to promote their own peculiar interests at the expense of another class, that other class surely has at least an equal right to combine to protect itself against the excess of its antagonist. A denial of this right would certainly come with an ill grace from those who are already formed into separate organizations, as a Working Men’s party, as a Trade’s Union party, as a Catholic party, as an Irish party, as a German party, yes, even as a French and an Italian party. Footnote: By classing these together at this moment, I do not intend to commit myself as expressing approval or disapproval of the right of each and all of these to organize, but merely to show that such organization does already exist among other classes in the community, and if even foreigners among us are allowed to exercise the right to organize into a separate interest, yes, even as foreigners, can the right with any propriety be refused to American Christians? Having thus stated the case, I am now free to make the passing remark, that excluding from view the three classes first named, the right of foreigners to organize as foreigners for political purposes is at least very questionable; but were their right unquestionably legal through the mildness of our laws, yet the practice is dangerous, indecorous and a palpable abuse of political liberality. The Irish naturalized citizens who should know no other name than Americans, for years have clanned together as Irish, and every means has been used and is still used especially by Catholics, to preserve them distinct from the American family. Recently a portion of the Germans have organized to keep up their distinct nationality, and the French and Italians have just followed the example. [Nov. 1834] To what will all this lead?
And now, on the supposition that such a political organization of Protestants were expedient, (for it resolves itself altogether into a question of expediency) let us see whether any party or interest could show a stronger claim upon the support of the whole nation. Its manifesto might run thus:
Popery is a Political system, despotic in its organization, anti-demoocratic and anti-republican, and cannot therefore coexist with American republicanism.
The ratio of increase of Popery is the exact ratio of decrease of civil liberty.
The dominance of Popery in the United States is the certain destruction of our free institutions.
Popery, by its organization, is wholly under the control of a FOREIGN DESPOTIC SOVEREIGN.
AUSTRIA, one of the Holy Alliance of Sovereigns leagued against the liberties of the world, HAS THE SUPERINTENDENCE OF THE OPERATIONS OF POPERY IN THIS COUNTRY.
The agents of Austria in the United States are Jesuits and priests in the pay of that foreign power, in active correspondence with their employers abroad, not bound by ties of any kind to our government or country, but, on the contrary, impelled by the strongest motives of ambition, to serve the interests of a despotic foreign government; which ambition has already, in one or more instances, been gratified, by promotion of these agents to higher office and wealth in Europe.
Popery is a UNION OF CHURCH AND STATE, nor can Popery exist in this country in that plenitude of power which it claims as a divine right, and which, in the very nature of the system, it must continually strive to obtain, until such a union is consummated. Popery on this ground, therefore, is destructive to our religious as well as civil liberty.
Popery is more dangerous and more formidable than any power in the United States, on the ground that, through its despotic organization, it can concentrate its efforts for any purpose, with complete effect, and that organization being wholly under foreign control, it can have no real sympathy with any thing American. The funds and intellect, and intriguing experience of all Papal and Despotic Europe, by means of agents, at this moment organized throughout our land, can, at any time, be brought in aid of the enterprises of foreign powers in this country.
These are the grounds upon which an appeal for support might be made to the patriotism, the love of liberty, the hatred of tyranny, temporal and spiritual, which belong in common to the whole Protestant American family.
But is this the plan of opposition to Popery that should be proposed, the plan which ought to be adopted by the Protestant community? No; distinctly and decidedly NO; plausible as it may appear, and perfectly in accordance as it is with the practice of politicians, the Christian community ought not, cannot adopt such an organization. There must not be a Christian party. What! shall Christianity throw aside the keen moral and intellectual arms with which alone it has gained and secured every substantial victory since the commencement of its glorious career; shall it exchange those arms of heavenly temper, “mighty in pulling down strong holds,” for the paltry, earthly (I might even say infernal) weapons of party strife? Can Christianity stoop so low? Can it bring itself down from contemplating its great work of revolutionizing the world by bringing moral truth to bear on the conscience and the heart, and narrow its vision to the contracted sphere of party politics? Can it enter, without defilement, into the polluted and polluting arena of political contest? Can it consent to be bargained for by political hucksters, or have the price of its favors hawked in the market by political brokers? Footnote: Both political Parties intrigue for Catholic votes. Let neither political party throw upon its antagonist the exclusive odium of courting this foreign, priest-disciplined band. There are some of both parties who must hide their heads with shame, when real Americans, the patriots of the country, disregarding party name, shall turn their indignant eyes upon this lurking enemy of liberty, and shall apprehend the reality of this foreign conspiracy. Is either political party disposed to upbraid the other with tampering with Popery, or to congratulate itself that it has kept its own garments unspotted front the crime of this indirect treason? If either thus flatters itself, let it be dumb; let guilt stop the utterance of both. Both are deplorably, notoriously guilty. This is a truth that cannot and will not be denied. Both have bargained with these organized vassals of a foreign power. Both in their eager recklessness to triumph over each other, have aided foreign despotism to prostrate at its feet the liberties of their country, the liberties of the world. All parties, religious and political, are suffering, and have yet much more to suffer from the evils already produced by this their blind folly, by their culpable servility to priest-governed foreigners, their cowardly backwardness in not daring to drag into the light this covert treason, because, forsooth, it comes in a sacred garb, their wretchedly loose notions of tolerance, and charity and liberality, their shameful disregard of the consequences of their bargainings.-And is it indeed come to this? A nation of Protestant freemen, nurtured in Protestant principles, the only true principles of liberty, principles wrested from tyranny by the persevering valor oftheir fathers, the result of the intellectual, aye, and physical combats of centuries, the fruits of obstinately contested struggles with despotism, and superstition, and bigotry, struggles of ages against the united intrigues of kingcraft and priest-craft; Americans, thus emancipated, having enjoyed the peaceful fruits of these blood-earned truths for two centuries, at length grow careless of their treasure; they sport with their liberty as if it were nothing worth; they grow weary of guarding their happiness, they sleep on their posts, they settle down into quiet security. They have ships, and forts, and arms, and brave hearts to defend their shores, and so there is no danger, all is peace, for the battle has long since been won, they can now safely doff their armor, there is no further need of the watchings of the camp. Our enemies, they say, have in truth become our friends; Kings are now Republican, and the Pope, yes the Pope, (his bulls and proclamations to the contrary notwithstanding,) we hope and believe has turned a Protestant Republican, at least in this country.-Let us be generous, say these descendants of ever jealous sires, let us invite our former foes to partake of our hospitality. How noble the sentiment! How will the world applaud! let us show an example of liberality unparalleled. The invitation is accepted, and they flock in countless thousands to our shores; a motley band, the oppressor and the oppressed together, and their relations to each other too unchanged. They have needed no Trojan Horse to hide them from our too credulous eyes, we lead them openly into the midst of us.-They parade our streets with foreign banners, already they flaunt them in our faces in derision. They even threaten us with their vengeance, and we cower beneath their frown. Yes, we plead with them to spare us, we thank them for restraining their rod, we humbly confess the sins of our ancestors, we tell them our fathers were bigotted and fanatical, they were too prejudiced against these our regal and papal friends.
We their children, grown more liberal, will show our freedom from narrow prejudices; we will make amends for past offences; our papal friends shall be received with open arms; we will even urge them to be the umpires in our family quarrels; we will beseech them to educate our children in their foreign principles of passive obedience; we will build for them their fortresses on our own soil, to attack our own strong holds, and then we will trust to their mercy; we shall then have delivered up to them all the keys of our house, and what will remain for us but to bow our necks beneath the foot of the Pope, and asking absolution for our own sins, and our father’s sins of long rebellion against his rightful sovereignty, humbly beg a legal charter for our country, and a consecrated king for our throne? Can it consent to compete with Popery in the use of those instruments of intrigue, and trick, and gambling management, in which Popery is perfectly skilled from the hoarded experience of ages? Can Christians present themselves before the country and the world, in this enlightened age and country, as a merepolitical party? No, no; God forbid, that we should forget the holy character of our cause; let us not be caught in that snare of the enemy. The danger cry of Church and State may safely be left to the people, to trumpet aloud through the land, when the blind infatuation, which now closes their eyes, shall have been removed, and they shall be able to see, what many already see, the secret political manœuverings Footnote: Popish experiment on the Military of the country. The experiments of Popery in various parts of the country on the ignorance or credulity, or apathy of the people, are every day, I might say every hour, more manifest, and they are prosecuted with a boldness, with an audacious defiance of American habits, and the feelings of American Republicanism, truly astonishing. Yet upon reflection, is it so astonishing that a tyranny of such inexhaustible resources of cunning and artifice, backed by the treasures, and the open encouragement of the arbitrary governments of Europe, should be more than ordinarily bold? For if success attends the advance of these arch intriguers against our Protestant habits and institutions, high honors and pecuniary rewards await them at home: if detection at any time overtakes them from the sudden waking of their victim, and his restive efforts to break off the bands that they would spider-like softly bind upon him, they have a retreat from punishment in their own country. A new experiment, another step forward in the march against our freedom, and to all appearances at present, a successful one has been tried at the West, at St. Louis, in the consecration of the Popish cathedral. The account is from a Popish Journal, called the Catholic Telegraph. They shall have the benefit of their own recital.
“The Cathedral of St. Louis is 134 feet long by 84 wide. There are 8 rows of pews. 25 in each row, calculated to contain at least 8000 persons. There are two magnificent colonnades at opposite sides in the body of the church, consisting of five massive pillars, of brick, elegantly marbled, and each four feet in diameter.
“The altar is of stone. It is only temporary, and will soon be superseded by a superb marble altar, which is hourly expected from Italy.
“The church it is said has already cost $42,000. It is presumed that about $18,000 more will be required to finish it, according to the original and magnificent design of its founders; so that the entire cost of the building and its furniture cannot be less than $60,000.
“The consecration took place on the Sabbath Oct. 26, 1834.
“At an early hour, 7, A. M. on the day of consecration, four Bishops, twenty-eight Priests, twelve of whom were from TWELVE different nations-and a considerable number of young aspirants to the holy ministry, making the entire ecclesiastical corps amount to fifty or sixty, were habited in their appropriate dresses. As soon as the procession was organized, the pealing of three large and clear-sounding bells, the thunder of two pieces of artillery raised all hearts, as well as our own to the Great Almighty Being.
“When the HOLY RELICS were moved towards their new habitation, where they shall enjoy an anticipated resurrection-the presence of their God in His holy tabernacle, the guns fired a second salute. We felt as if the SOUL OF ST. LOUIS, Christian, Lawgiver and HERO, was in the sound, and that he again led on his victorious armies in the service of the God of Hosts, for the defence of his religion, his sepulchre, and his people.
“When the solemn moment of the consecration approached, and the Son of the living God was going to descend for the first time, into the new residence of his glory on earth, the drums beat the reville, three of the star-spangled banners were lowered over the balustrade of the sanctuary, the artillery gave a deafening discharge.
“The dedication sermon was preached by the Bishop of Cincinnati. During the Divine Sacrifice, two of the military stood with drawn swords, one at each side of the altar; they belonged to a guard of honor formed expressly for the occasion. Besides whom, there were detachments from the four militia companies of the city, the Marions, the Grays, the Riflemen, and the Cannoneers from Jefferson Barracks, stationed at convenient distances around the church.
“Well and eloquently did the Rev. Mr. Abell, pastor of Louisville, observe in the evening discourse, alluding to his own and the impressions of the clergy and laity, who were witnesses to the scene ; ‘Fellow-Christians and Fellow-citizens! I have seen the flag of my country proudly floating at the mast- head of our richly freighted merchantmen; I have seen it fluttering in the breeze at the head of our armies, but never, never did my heart exult, as when I this day behold it, for the first time, bow before its God! Breathing from infancy the air which our artillery had purified from the infectious spirit of bigotry and persecution, it would be the pride of my soul, to take the brave men by the hand, by whom these cannons were served. But for these cannons, there would be no home for the free, no asylum for the persecuted.
“What are the reflections of an American on an occurrence like this? What must they be to one who has ever felt his pride of country stir within him, when in foreign lands he has beheld the degraded slaves of despotism bow in like manner before the altars and idols of heathenish superstition, awed into seeming reverence by the military array which always accompanies the imposing ceremonial of the Popish church? But the military were only a guard of honor! Yes; this is the soft name given to this despotic chain, the musical sound to charm us away from scrutinizing it, and it will be sufficient, doubtless, to drown its harsher clanking in our torpid ears. The guard of honor, that universal appendage of kings and sacred despots, is a serviceable band. It not only helps to swell a procession by its numbers, but with the glitter of its arms, and accoutrements, and gay banners, it adds splendor to the pageant of a heathen ritual. But, reader, it has an essential duty to perform. Its duty is to enforce the ceremonies of worship upon all present. Do you doubt this duty of the guard of honor? The writer will give his own experience of the duties of the guard of honor. I was a stranger in Rome, and recovering from the debility of a slight fever, I was walking for air and gentle exercise in the Corso, on the day of the celebration of the Corpus Domini. From the houses on each side of the street were hung rich tapestries and gold embroidered damasks, and towards me slowly advanced a long procession, decked out with all the heathenish paraphernalia of this self-styled church. In a part of the procession a lofty baldechino, or canopy, borne by men, was held above the idol, the host, before which, as it passed, all heads were uncovered, and every knee bent but mine. Ignorant of the customs of heathenism, I turned my back upon the procession, and close to the side of the houses in the crowd, (as I supposed unobserved,) I was noting in my tablets the order of the assemblage. I was suddenly aroused from my occupation, and staggered by a blow upon the head from the gun and bayonet of a soldier, which struck off my hat far into the crowd. Upon recovering from the shock, the soldier, with the expression of a demon, and his mouth pouring forth a torrent of Italian oaths, in which il diavolo had a prominent place, stood with his bayonet against my breast. I could make no resistance, I could only ask him why he struck me, and receive in answer his fresh volley of unintelligible imprecations, which having delivered, he resumed his place in the guard of honor, by the side of the officiating cardinal.
Americans will not fail to observe in the precious extract of the discourse in which the priest gives vent to his feelings of exultation upon seeing our national flag, the star-spangled banner, humbled in the dust before the Pope, that with the cunning of his craft he flatters the soldiery, and in a sermon professedly to the God of Peace, and in dedicating a temple to his name, he is inspired with no loftier feelings of soul than this, “it would be the pride of my soul, to take the brave men by the hand, by whom these cannonswere served.” Why? Is it such a brave act to touch off a cannon? Or was the imagination of the priest revelling in the dream of seeing the military power of the country, at a future day, at the beck and service of the Pope, and his Austrian master? of a sect whose very existence depends upon a Union of Church and State. No; let American Christianity proclaim anew to all the world that it can never be wooed to any such unholy alliance. It will keep its garments unspotted from the crimes of the State. It will take none of the responsibilities of the political errors of the age, nor father any of the evils which the unprincipled politicians of the day may bring upon the country and the world as the effect of their political bargainings.
Now is the time for this Christian Republic to show her moral energy. Europe is an anxious spectator of our contests, and is watching the success of this new trial of the strength of our boasted institutions. Oh! what a lesson, what an impressive lesson might free America now read to Europe! what an example of the power of moral over physical government, can she give to the world if she will but rouse herself in her moral might, to the grand effort which the occasion demands? How would the petty jealousies of the different Protestant sects be swallowed up in the magnitude of the one great enterprise? How would every sect rather cheer the others on in their united march against a common foe, and make a common rejoicing of the success of any and every corps, as of a victorious regiment in the same great army?
Will American Christians prepare themselves for this enterprise? Will each sect awake to the feeling of its being a corps of the great Christian army, marching under the command of no earthly leader, fighting with no earthly weapons, and against no earthly foe. Will they wake to the perception of the great truth, that while their great Captain allows each to act separately and independently within certain limits, it is he that commands in chief and now orders all his soldiers, under whatever earthly banner enrolled, in united phalanx to go forward, forward in his single service. Which corps will first marshall itself for action? Which will be first in the field? Which will press forward with most zeal for the honor of the advance, for the post of danger? Which in the battle will be most in earnest to carry forward the standards of truth and plant them upon the battlements of papal darkness? Will any shrink back for fear? Will any be deterred from unholy jealousy of its neighbor? Will any indulge in unchristian, ignoble suspicion of its brethren? What cause have any for fear, or jealousy, or suspicion? This enterprise asks no sacrifice of sectarian principle; it demands no surrender of conscientious predilection of each to its own modes and forms; but it does ask the sacrifice of petty prejudice; it does demand the surrender of those miserable jealousies and envyings which more or less belong to some of every sect, when they learn the greater success of another, as if the victory of one were not the victory of all.
And what are the weapons of this warfare?
The Bible, the Tract, the Infant school, the Sunday school, the common school for all classes, the academy for all classes, the college and university for all classes, a free press for the discussion of all questions.
These, all these, are weapons of Protestantism, weapons unknown to Popery! Yes, all unknown to genuine Popery!
Let no one be deceived by the Popish apings of Protestant institutions. The Popish seminary has little in common with the Protestant seminary but the name. It is but the sheep’s skin that covers the wolfs back; the teeth and the claws are not even well concealed beneath. With the weapons we have named, and with our Education societies, Theological seminaries, and Missionary societies, we need no new organization, no Anti-Popery union. But we must use our arms, and not rest satisfied with the possession of them. They must be furbished anew, and we must prepare ourselves for a vigorous warfare. We must be stirring, if we mean indeed to be victorious. Not a moment is to be lost. The enemy knows well the importance of the present instant. Hear what he says, “We must make haste, the moments are precious.-
IF THE PROTESTANT SECTS ARE BEFOREHAND WITH US, IT WILL BE DIFFICULT TO DESTROY THEIR INFLUENCE.”
Ought not this acknowledgement of the enemy to quicken and encourage to instant effort. And again writes a Catholic Missionary, “zeal for error is always hot, particularly among the Methodists, whom nothing can turn from their track, and who heap absurdity upon absurdity. I should despair, if I should see this sect building a church in my neighborhood.”
Will not our Methodist brethren take this hint?
Continue to chapter XII (final chapter)