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While offering peace sincere and just,
, And every scheme of bondage fail.
Sound, sound the trump of Fame !
Ring through the world with loud applause,
Ring through the world with loud applause : Let
every clime to Freedom dear Listen with a joyful ear.
With equal skill, and godlike power,
governs in the fearful hour
Behold the Chief who now commands,
The rock on which the storm will beat,
The rock on which the storm will beat :
When hope was sinking in dismay,
ROMANISM AND LIBERTY.
BY H. N LLER,
WE entirely agree with those who hold that religion, in so far as the individual enjoyment thereof is concerned, should not enter among the tests by which the citizen is politically tried at the ballot box. Religion, simply as a matter of individual opinion and faith, is a concern which it is more safe to leave between man and his Maker, than to intrust it to any third party, whomsoever. So, at least, has its universal history proved. Mankind could scarcely have been more irreligious had creeds and priests never existed. But we do not agree with those who would shut from the ballot-box and the political forum all judgment upon religion, whether of individuals or classes, where it is beyond question that this religion has more in it of political craft than of soul-saving godliness.
To come directly to the point, we do not agree that a religion, like Roman Catholicism, judged by its record, past or present—if infallible, its record should be always the same is entitled to that exemption from political discussion and judgment which may be, and we think is, due to the unvaunting, unambiguous, and sublime religion of Jesus. No; if there were no world-wide history, written too often in letters of blood and rapine, by which to judge it, we have seen enough in our
midst in this, its most tolerable and tolerant age, to satisfy us that, in countermining or meeting it face to face, we have, in Catholicism, to do with a vast and mighty political machinery—a machinery worked by cunning minds and skilful hands—that has, in darker ages, clasped all who disputed its claims, whether divine or temporal, to a breast, not of “tender mercy,” but of implacable, life-crushing spikes and thorns.
A religion which compels its chiefs to swear, in the hour of sacred investiture,” to yield nothing to “principalities or powers," that can conflict with the will and interests of their one and only sovereign, the temporality-grasping “Successor of St. Peter," is a political element and authority to be watched, and met, and baffled wherever the people would rule the State, or govern their own temporal affairs. A religion which exacts such fealty from its chiefs, must impose a no less dangerous obligation on its rank and file ; and thus it is that, wherever the Roman Catholic is a citizen, he is bound, if Papal ambition or need demand, to abjure all other allegiance. And the fealty of the chiefs goes farther than this ;—as we saw only lately, when a mutilated oath of a just consecrated Catholic Bishop was sought to be palmed off as the real, whole thing—it binds him to a ceaseless persecution, if that will avail, of any or all who are without the Catholic fold. There is no denying this, had there never been quenched a brand a martyr's blood—had never a soul passed to heaven from the torture of the rack. It is in the nature of the religion which, of itself, is a perpetual instigaton to violence against all who are not of “the faith.”
In our own country, we have seen but a mild exercise of its spirit and power, yet enough to betray the hoary and profound despotism that lies concealed beneath its local, temporary inability. It has not, among us, dared, or rather, has not seen fit-for it is politic, and patient withal—to re-thunder the motto of that Austrian bravo of the “Holy Alliance," who said “I will oppose a will of iron (steel ?) to the progress of liberal principles ; it has not ventured-save in petty instances—to burn sacred or profane literature in our highways; it has not kindled the material faggot, nor raised the auto-da-fe ; it has not denied all decent grave-space to “heretics." No; it is not bold and brave in defence of itself ; it does not spurn time-serving policy, and unmask itself, at once, in all its hideous ugliness. The spirit is there, burning with hate and vengeance, as deeply as on Bartholomew's Day, or when the Bohemian expiated his Protestantism in fire, or the Emperor-monk of Yuste dabbled his crucifix in heretic gore ; but the time is not come to manifest it "in the flesh," and God grant that it never may come !
But it has done all it dared to do. It has seized on strong elements of temporal power, grasping for its Pontifical head temples, and treasures, and graves, reared, and coined, and dug by its blind followers' sweat and blood. It has isolated and armed its herd—with one weapon or other—against all hearty coalition with the people of the land. It has battled against free thought and free speech, and particularly against the education of the children of the land, free and in common. In the name of a religion which it dare not trust to the march
of mind and the progress of events, it has stood like a rock of flint in the way of liberty's watch-lights-free altars and free schools. It has opposed, secretly always, and openly when it dared, whatever tended to make a people more free and selfreliant.
If it has veiled the pageants and mummeries wherewith it has deluded and debauched in other lands, it is because the intelligence of the people at large would not tolerate them; or because, perhaps, it has found ample work for its genius and craft in attempting to stem the currents of intelligence, lest they should so widen, and swell, and burst, as to swirl down the Jesuitic Roman structure, stripping despotism of its mightiest stronghold, and ridding freedom of her deadliest foe. We have had the true programme of what Catholicism would do if it had the State in its clutches—as in Spain, or Naples, or Rome—sounded in our ears by an Archbishop's organ, “The Shepherd of the Valley." It would suppress free schools and common schools; it would crush or censor the press, and by any and every means drive back the people to the convenient barbarism of ignorance ; it would make them serfs in mind, soul and body, and finally, by putting on the inquisitorial screws of an "infallible faith," have but one church, one fold, and no heretics.
Beautiful and harmonious unity! We can fancy this consummation so devoutly labored for by "Shepherds of the Valley;"—honest shepherds, but belching the truth too soon;it would not be different from the state of Christendom ere the Reformers arose ; all knees would bend, or be broken,