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TO THE FIRST EDITION.
THERE are many circumstances in the times in which we live, that seem to call for new statements of the principles upon which the Reformed Churches originally separated from Rome, and continue still to reject her authority.
In general, it is to be feared that Protestants are very ignorant of the present state of the Church of Rome; and it is, perhaps, to be attributed to this cause, that an impression seems to have become widely disseminated, that the Popery of the present day is essentially different from that professed in former times. The Author of these pages believes this impression to be both erroneous and dangerous, and in order to show what the Romish Church now is, he has endeavoured as much as possible to draw his information from the more recent statements of the doctrines and worship of that Church.*
* Since this volume was sent to the press, I have met with a work in two volumes, which I understand to be of high authority among the Papists in this country. Its title is, “The Sincere Christian instructed in the Faith of Christ from the written word.” If I had seen it at an earlier period, I should have taken some notice of its contents in these pages.
Another idea seems to have gone forth, that all danger from the Church of Rome is past: it is to be feared, that this opinion also is not correct. The author indeed believes, as he has endeavoured to prove in another place,* that the final destruction of that Church is near at hand. But he must, in candour, state, that many able and pious Protestants do not agree with him in this sentiment. He will also add, that the same Scriptures from which he has deduced this inference, lead him to antici. pate that Rome will make an expiring effort to regain her lost authority. This expectation seems to be confirmed by what is now passing in the world. In every part of the United Kingdom, we hear of the rapid increase of Popery; and the danger which may yet arise from this source, is already far more formidable, than the great body of the public are at all aware of. The information contained in the following extracts from a literary journal of last year, will probably be new to many of the readers of this volume, and if they possess any zeal for the interests of true religion, it will not fail to awaken them to the necessity of more than ordinary vigilance.
“Our immediate forefathers, who witnessed the suppression of the order of the Jesuits, and who know but too well the satisfactory evidence on which it was founded, would have wept in pity, mixed with indignation, if they could have suspected, that the lapse of less than half a century, would have effaced from the minds of their children, the conduct and principles of this iniquitous fraternity. We seriously believe, that there is no professediy
See my Dissertation on the Seals and the Trumpets of the Apocalypse, and the Prophetical period of 1260 years.
religious society whatever, the formidable office of the Inquisition by no means excepted, which has done so much injury to Christianity and the world at large, as that now under consideration. United together by indissoluble ties, and governed by the most artful and impious system of rules, the Jesuits want nothing but a fulcrum to move and unhinge the moral world. This important datum has been once more conceded; the head mechanist at Rome has provided the lever, and furnished the motive power, while England among other nations has, with its usual good nature, provided a place on which the Jesuits may conveniently stand to conduct their experiments.
- Those of our readers who have watched the operations of this insidious order, will easily perceive, that we allude, among other circumstances, to the attempt which has been too successfully made to set up a Jesuit college within the home dominions of his Britannic Majesty, and the immediate limits of the English Church. If we have not wholly mistaken the character of the Jesuits, such an institution is pregnant with the greatest dangers to any Church or State, into which it is admitted; and we, therefore, think it most highly important, that the public should be fully on their guard with respect to the subtle adversaries with whom they will soon have seriously to contend.”“ We have already intimated, that a large Jesuit college at this moment exists in the very heart of the British dominions. The place where this innovation on Protestant discipline, and this experiment on Protestant forbearance, were to be tried, was Stonyhurst, near Preston, in Lancashire; where, for thirty years past this powerful order has possessed a spacious college, amply provided with
all the machinery of Jesuitism. The studies of the place are stated to be conducted upon the same system with those of the Roman Catholic universities abroad; and there are regular professors in all the usual branches of scientific and scholastic education. The college, which is a very extensive building, has room for four or five hundred pupils, independently of the professors, managers, and domestics, and is said to contain at the present moment, five hundred or more individuals of various descriptions. It is surrounded with suitable offices for tradesmen and artizans of every description, proper for rendering the establishment independent and well supplied with the necessaries and conveniences of life.
“ To the college are attached more than a thou. sand acres of land, which the Jesuits keep in their own hands, and farm under the direction and management of one of their members. In addition to the produce of this land, which is consumed in the college, the Jesuits, by means of large purchases from the neighbouring farmers and others, extend their influence, and with it their faith, throughout the whole of the surrounding country. The conversion of Protestants, and Roman Catholic instruction are provided for, on a scale the most extensive and complete; and the success of the experiment, we are sorry to say, has been fully equal to the preparations.
“ The pupils in the establishment are collected from various parts of Great Britain and Ireland, and the continent; so that the Jesuits in this college have extensive communications and correspondence with numerous parts of the world; and the importance of their letters may be inferred from the particular precautions which they adopt res