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WITH AN EPISTLE DEDICATORY TO THE CLERGY OF THE CITY
AND CATHEDRAL OF CANTERBURY,
MINISTER OF St. John's CHAPEL, CANTERBURY.
Holy Inquisition. Convent of Minerva, Rome, 1634. With a sincere heart and unfeigned faith I abjure, curse and detest the said errors and heresies (viz. that the earth moves, &c.) I sware that I will never in future say or assert any thing, verbally, or in writing, which may give rise to a similar suspicion against me.
I Galileo Galilei have abjured as above with my own hand," Rising from his knees after this solemnity, he whispered to a friend, e pur se muove; “it moves for all that. !"
CANTERBURY: S. FRENTICE, GUILDHALL STREET,
LONDON: STRANGE, PATERNOSTER ROW.
During the present year, the author was engaged in delivering to his congregation, a course of Lectures on the “ Tracts for the Times.” At the suggestion of several friends, part of what was then delivered from the pulpit, is now committed to the press. The course comprised a lecture on each of the most prominent doctrines of Puseyism ; but that on the "uninterrupted succession" is now selected from the rest, as the basis of the present work, from a conviction of its being that master error of the system, which, if successfully disproved, must necessarily ensure the destruction of the whole.
If it should be said that I have gone a little out of my way, in addressing those who have no anxiety to receive the valuable instructions of a dissenting teacher, my reply is,-that such is the iniquity of Puseyism, that almost any means may be justified in exposing it, provided they are not inconsistent with honesty, and with truth. The idea of the succession seems to beget a species of monomania and forgetfulness of the first principles of Christianity. The Syrian and other churches adjacent are at this time in such an awfully degenerate state, that their priests are nothing better than impostors, and both among the clergy and laity, nothing is so little discernible as real religion. Once a year in Jerusalem, they hold a ceremony called the miraculous fire, in which are such scenes of debauchery as would disgrace Smithfield or Greenwich fairs. Bishops and Priests in their full canonicals lead a procession with flags, crucifixes, and torches, invoking the Virgin and every picture aitar and relic, to aid them in obtaining the miraculous fire-which after all is nothing more than the ignition of a few ounces of spirits of wine.
But the bishops and priests thank God for having sent down a miraculous flame from heaven! The whole affair is merely an expedient of priestcraft to get money. Now mark! the Metropolitan of all England writes to these very impostors as brethren in Christ, even styles them their holinesses, and their churches apostolicalspeaks to them in terms of highest respect-recommends to their notice, Bishop Alexander, in Jerusalem, -- and expresses a desire to renew an amicable intercourse with these ancient churches of the east! And all this because they are in the successiun. ? (See a visit to Syria by R. H. Herschell, 1843.)
And what can we think of a system that not only ridicules or detests the right of private judgment ; but even denounces the exercise of it in matlers of religion, as a crime, and a crime too of the deepest dye. “ They never thought of comparing sins in their days : (i. e., in the days of St. Cyprian) as we do in ours ; but with St. Paul, counted schism, or dissent, as it is now called, as great a sin as adultery, or any other violation of God's commandments! (Wakefield, Puseyite Tracts, No. 1). Now who can help feeling indignant at a sentiment like this? I know that it is inculcated and acted upon in this city as well as in Wakefield, and many other places. I know that even children in national schools are taught to believe that between the dissenter and the criminal there is no difference—and that the same punishment ought to be inflicted on both. After this, let no one accuse me of undue warmth, or of taking undue liberties in my exposure of a heresy, which is prevalent enough~ and malignant enough--and jesuitical enough, to make every christian, and especially every christian minister, lift up his voice against it: and if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out.”.
That the composition of the following pages is in the best taste, or that the manner in which the argument is conducted is altogether unexceptionable, I cannot pretend to say. In all kinds of controversy, errors are easily committed : and even the defence of the truth may not always be carried on in that spirit which courtesy or christian charity might approve, or which justice might demand. I can say that I have indulged in no bitterness of spirit, and that I have made no wilful mis-statements in controverting those opinions to which I am opposed : still, others may think differently : well, if it can be clearly shewn that I have wronged any man by false accusation, I am willing to apologize, and to express my unfeigned regret, for having unintentionally done so.
To my friends in Bath, Canterbury, Alcester, Melksham,
P. C. P.S.-Since the statement at page 93, was printed, a letter has been inserted in the Patriot, from the authorities of Westminster hospital, declaring it to be devoid of truth. To make a false accusation against any party. or to aid in the publicity of it, is, of course a circumstance much to be deplored. It is however, only fair to add, that Mrs. Terry persists in the accuracy of her statement; and that a document has been signed by Messrs. Resson, Monger, Hammond, and other leading members of the Baptist Chapel, Faversham, stating that she has attended their place of worship for the last four years, during which time her conduct has been unobjectionable, and that, according to their opinion, confidence may be placed in what she affirms.