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met together; accordingly we admit there is some force in the following observations of Mr. Lucas.
The old Catholic feeling as to the superiority of prayer and spiritual communion with GOD over preaching, is well expressed in the saying of the devout monarch, "I would rather have a quarter of an hour's conversation with my friend than hear an hour's discourse in his praise." Accordingly the Catholic worship consists, as it always has consisted, in spiritual communion, in a devout thanksgiving and offering of one's self to God, along with the holy and spiritual sacrifice of the new law. Preaching was made less account of; it was considered as useful indeed, and as tending to edification, but prayer and inward exercises were looked upon as the one thing needful. Such was the Catholic spirit of those times, vulgarly called dark, which produced some of the deepest works of spiritual wisdom -(the Imitation of CHRIST for instance)-that have ever appeared. But when Protestantism, disputatious Protestantism, reared her baleful visage above the horizon, it was discovered that men were to be saved by sermons, by the foolishness of preaching (perverting the language of the Apostle), by discourses two hours long, branching out into nineteen or twenty divisions, by the hearing of the outward ear, not by the inward teaching of the spirit. There ensued an utter forgetfulness of the difference between the conversion of the heathen and the edification of the faithful; how the instrument of the former was preaching, whereby the ignorant were brought to the threshold of Christianity; and the instruments of the latter were the solemn offices of the Church, whereby the negligent and remiss who had already received outward instruction, were led unto the teaching of the HOLY GHOST. Preaching became all in all. Men with itching ears, flocked to their churches and endured the service for the sake of the godly discourse that was to follow; instead of flocking to the Church for the service, for the devotion, for the spiritual exercise, and listening with thankfulness to the sermon as a useful addition to the other, which was indeed the matter of prime, and indispensable necessity. It was half forgotten, that worship consisted not in listening to sermons nor in a critical comprehension of doctrines, but in prayer, in adoration, in devout humble supplication, in spiritual communion with GOD, in the denial of self, in the teaching of the HOLY GHOST.
Of course we do not admit that the worship of the Romanist is spiritual; we believe, on the contrary, its general characteristic is that of gross and sense-bound will-worship, superstition, and idolatry.
Mr. Lucas has but little sympathy with the "venerable establishment;" he deems its services the caput mortuum from which the spirit has long since evaporated.
Some, like the Anglican Church, have retained in greater or less perfection, the outward forms and organization, while the spirit which breathed life into them has fled utterly; and as men in the wild and desolate places of the earth, discover some gigantic bone or skeleton, which tells them that here in old times was an organized body, full of life, and health, and vigour, so, in poring over the solemn liturgies and devout services of the Anglican Protestants, you are in every part reminded of some doctrine of the Church, there lifeless and marrowless, which they have retained in name and in skeleton, while they have abjured it in reality and practice; so that those who, in the present day, are striving to infuse a new life into what has hitherto lain dead and profitless, are found by common consent to differ only by imperceptible shades from the hated and dreaded Papists.
Indeed, if we may trust his florid description, he has found, within the asylum of bewildered souls, and in tasting the cup of mystery Babylon, a congenial resting-place to the soles of his feet, and nourishment suited to the tone of his religious feelings, such as we believe those have not found, who from the Society of Friends have entered the Anglican Church. Theirs is usually an uneasy conformity—his
a heartfelt embrace.
With the Catholic worship they have never come in contact; and the mass even of wellinformed Friends, know as little of it as they do of the worship of the Moslem or the Hindoo. It has been my privilege, and a glorious privilege I know it to be, to be one of the very first to explore this unknown land of Catholicism. Though evil spoken of by the unfaithful spies who from time to time have pretended to give some report of it, I know it to be a land flowing with milk and honey, abounding in the choicest blessings of GOD. As
a child who has lost himself, he knows not where, far from home, returns weeping and weary to his mother's breast, so, after long wandering in darkness, seeking for truth but finding no rest, because I could find no certainty, I have at length come, tired out with profitless labour, to find repose and consolation within that temple, whose eternal gates are ever open to invite the weary and erring pilgrim to enter in, and partake of heavenly refreshment. I have accepted the invitation. I have entered in; and within I have found, not the mutilated limbs of truth, but the glorious virgin herself, in all her celestial radiance; so that I cannot but exclaim, with St. Austin in the like case, "O beauty, ever ancient, and yet ever new! Why have I known thee so late?" Having this knowledge, I should have been an unfaithful witness if I had not at once done my best to send the good tidings abroad. I could not but make known to my friends the blessings which are in store for them, whenever they shall choose to make the like experiment with myself.
Nor is this the result of caprice, or of accident, but the unfolding of all those germs of religious veneration, and of poetic taste, implanted in his very nature and education. It is the religion of feelings, and impres sions leading to the religion of the senses, and a candid statement of this in his own mental history, we regard as the most instructive feature of Mr. Lucas's work. We have long since been convinced, that the love of natural beauty, the thrilling and ecstatic and ennobling emotions experienced by spirits of finer mould, when they
"Mingle with the universe, and feel
What they can ne'er express, yet cannot all conceal,"
that, moreover, the "religious feelings" enkindled, when
(6 Through the long-drawn aisle and fretted vault,
Or even the excitement of mere natural emotion, by powerful and
Mr. Lucas thus argues in favour of the use of images in worship; and we must say, we see not how those who rest at all on aught but the power of the Spirit of God carrying the truth home to the heart,
can answer him.
Many of those whom I am addressing are, I doubt not, acquainted with Wordsworth's beautiful poem, "The Excursion." Let me for a moment suppose his Wanderer to be a Catholic instead of a Presbyterian, and let us accompany him through some of the scenes which the poet's imagination conjures up. In the morning, when he commences the labour and burden of the day.
"From the naked top
Of some bold headland, he beholds the sun
As he gazes on the magnificent spectacle,
"Rapt into still communion that transcends
Into the inmost depths of his soul, as he pursues his daily course,
"The whispering air
Sends inspiration from the shadowy heights
And blind recesses of the caverned rocks."
And in some sequestered spot, where the rocks shut out all outward objects but the azure sky, the solitary raven, with his iron knell, flying athwart the dark blue dome, rouses within him devout aspirations, and gives him
The day wanes, and he passes from these valleys and craggy defiles into an elevated spot," where he beholds the sun
but as he sinks, kindling into a blaze of light, "through half the circle of the sky," the little floating clouds, which shed each on each
"With prodigal communion, the bright hues
his mind is filled with rapturous joy, and, falling prostrate on the soft heath, there bursts from him, in holy transport, this devout invocation,
"Eternal Spirit! Universal God!
Power inaccessible to human thought,
Save by degrees and steps which Thou hast deigned
To the infirmity of mortal sense
Vouchsafed, this local, transitory type,
Of thy paternal splendours, and the pomp
Of those who fill thy courts in highest Heaven,
The radiant Cherubim; accept the thanks
Which we, thy humble creatures, here convened,
The world is covered with darkness, as the pilgrim still pursues his weary way. He beholds in the distance a little glimmering light among the trees. He turns aside into a bye-road, and approaches an humble chapel, where holy men, set apart for the service of GOD, offer up prayers day and night unceasingly. Oppressed with fatigue and travel-stained, longing for the hour when the labour of the day shall cease, and he can betake himself to his humble bed, he enters, and beneath a crucifix whereon is sustained an image of our Blessed SAVIOUR suffering unutterable agony for his redemption, he prostrates himself with the lowest humility, thanking God for the life and death of that Divine Teacher who came to
make a religion of sorrow and self-denial; and he passes onwards more refreshed and more strengthened against the murmurings and complainings of his nature, by that symbol of his Redeemer's agony, than by all the splendour of the sun, all the glory of the heaven, all the divine magnificence of the earth. Let me ask, Where is the idolatry, where is the unspirituality of all this? I answer, It is Christian worship, all of it; and this last act of devotion, the most spiritual of all.
Now this seems very plausible-we admit it with sorrow, because we are sure that to the mind of the Apostle who had been caught up into Paradise-nay more, to the mind of any spiritually-minded child of God, walking in simple communion with the Lord nowthere would not exist any plausibility in the statement. Such would say with Paul, "If any man be in Christ, there is a new creation, (Kain Krious) old things are passed away, behold all things are become new," and would be furnished with the exhortation "If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things that are above, where Christ sitteth at the right hand of God," "For faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." And the world, and the things of the world, used in the way man's wisdom prescribes, to beget, to nourish or to strengthen faith, are all found too weak to effect the end in view. "By grace ye are saved, through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God."
We cannot detain our readers with observations on Mr. Lucas's arguments in reference to the Scriptures, as insufficient to form a standard of faith. His reasonings are of the common description, and are sufficiently answered by the assertion of God himself, that "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness; that the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works." We will simply notice, in contrast with the disparaging manner in which he speaks of the Bible, his laudatory comments on that mischievous work, "The Imitation of Christ," by Thomas-a-Kempis, a volume which probably finds a place in almost every well-educated "Friend's" library, and of which we thank Mr. Lucas for telling us. "It has been truly said that the fourth book, that on the Eucharist, is the key to the whole work, is the completion of the whole design, the final end for which the whole treatise was written;" and yet Protestants are content to omit this (which for very shame, we presume, they would not publish), and to suck in the errors of the remainder. "This is the work, which we are told, by a protestant writer, is said to have gone through one thousand eight hundred editions, and has probably been more read than any one work after the Scriptures." It is in vain for Protestants to lament the increase of Popery, if they suffer such works as this to be read in their families. But to return to Mr. Lucas's description of it.
It does not bear upon it the stamp of any human characteristic. It is rather a voice proceeding from the sanctuary and the throne of GOD, and, because addressed to man, clothing itself in human words, but those the simplest and plainest, and, in its passage to the heart, untainted by any human admixture. It is a collection of unpolished words, giving utterance to the profoundest spiritual truths, and revealing the purest spiritual insight. It is rather an inspiration than a human composition.
Thus prone, alas! is man, to trust in man's compositions, and to incur the consequent curse (Jer. xvii. 5), while he leaves those "words of the Lord," which " are pure words as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times." This error runs through the whole of our author's tract. He appeals to tradition, to christian antiquity, to the apostolic fathers, to all these broken cisterns which can hold no water, and on which no dependence can be placed. They will not even serve to prop the rotten edifice of Popery, without proving "The staff of a bruised reed, on which if a man lean, it will go into his hand and pierce it." For every one conversant with the early Fathers, knows that there are passages fatal to the present doctrinal assumptions of Rome, and asserting the free-grace pardon and full justification of the believer.
Our readers will now be prepared in some measure to appreciate Mr. L.'s assertion.
"My familiarity with, and attachment to, many of the leading principles of Friends, has very much facilitated my coming back to the Catholic Church; and I assert, that whatever outward differences there may be, there should, if they understood one another, be far more sympathy felt by Friends with the solemn realities of the Catholic worship, the profound contemplative discipline of the Catholic practice, so favourable to inward stillness of mind, and the unshrinking faith enshrined in the Catholic belief, than with the lifeless, unspiritual forms of the Protestants, their entire neglect of contemplative and inward training, their timid, uncertain, and wavering opinions.
And the more fully his "reasons" are examined, the more deeply the subject is studied, the more entire and perfect would become the conviction that quakerism is but mystic popery: the pantheism of the eastern philosophy introduced in the early age of the church's degeneracy, unsuspectedly into her embrace, fostered there by the philosophic bias of a Justin Martyr, and the visionary mind of an Origen, running riot in all its native exuberance of evil in the early heresies, re-appearing in various ages of the church's history, and when apparently extinct, yet but latent in the minds of the recluse, and ready at every favourable opportunity to assume a wider of range mischief. The essential characteristic of both Quakerism and Popery is the denial that "a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law." The fundamental doctrine of Quakerism is the "inward principle" "the light within every man by nature," while the whole structure of Romanism is in one sense erected on grace received in baptism. It will easily be seen in comparing Barclay's description of the inward principle with the delineation of baptismal grace at the council of Trent, that the Quaker notion is but popery divested of what is
COUNCIL OF TRENT.
Father Paul's History, p. 166.
THE perfection of Adam consisted in an infused quality, which adorned the soul, made it perfect and acceptable to God, and exempted the body from mortality. And God, for the merit of Christ, giveth unto those that are regenerated by baptism,
By this "seed, grace, and word of God, and