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NOTICES TO CORRESPONDENTS.
K. W. M. has been received; he has fallen into error in supposing that A. D. 606, is the date of the first year of the Hegira, The Mohammedan æra commences in A. D. 622. This mistake, our correspondent will perceive, runs through a great part of his reasoning—the rest is under consideration.
Y. has been received, and his letter shall be inserted in our next number. We have received a letter signed “Charles Bardin," on the subject of the King's Inn-street School. We regret that the letter which we published in our November Number, (and which we gave, only because it stated a fact strongly corroborative of our sentiments as to the Roman Catholic anxiety for the sacred Scriptures, and gave too without passing an opinion on the subject in question,) should “have given offenee to any who were interested in the School. Mr. Bardin tbinks the publication of his letter due to the managers of the school, and we shall give it a place in our next Number, requesting that respected gentleman to believe, that nothing but the neces. sary pre-occupation of our pages at an early period, consequent upon our publishing in London on the first of each Month, could prevent its appearance in this Number.
A Copy of Verses on the Irish Society, has been received, and is under consideration.
The beautiful lines on Matt. viii, 4, have appeared in several periodical publications and collections of poems.
Our correspondent at Cookham will have the goodness to send his future favours to the house of Longman & Co. in London, for our Publishers. As our friends must be aware of the expense attending an extensive correspondence, and the transmission of packets, they will, we hope, excuse us for hinting that letters are not less welcome for being post-paid.
On the commencement of a new Volume, and at the beginning of a New Year, it may not be uninteresting to contemplate for å short time the events of that which has just elapsed to review the progress of events by which its course has been marked—and 10 consider how far and with what effect those principles for which, as CARISTIAN EXAMINERS, and members of the National Church, we have been contending, have been reduced to practice. The progress of religion-pure unadulterated BIBLE religion ; the extension of education, founded on a scriptural basis, and directed by scriptural rules; the free and unfettered course of the everglorious Gospel, whose tendency is to make “ man wise unto salvation ;'-these present to the inquiring mind the most important, topics of reflection; and when considered in connexion with the state of things in this country, and the apparent aspirations after a better, they come home to the hearts and feelings of all who are concerned or interested in a change, and may be regarded as the remedy afforded by the Giver of all good, for all the moral, and consequent physical, evils which our unhappy country has endured. In this respect, it may be averred, we do not differ from other lands:-there never yet has been a country in wbich civil and social happiness was thoroughly enjoyed, but under the influence of pure religion; there never bas been a country raised from the endurance of evil but by the influence of her precepts and the extension of her doctrines. The state of Ireland lias, indeed, been singular; although for so many centuries under the influence of a powerful and rapidly improving country, the advance in civilization which belonged to that kingdom seemed to be limited to its soil, and its dependant appeared to possess a repulsive power for excellence, or in the progress of time to sink lower, and become more degraded in its manners and habits. Even the Reformation, which conferred such unmixed good on
the Sister Island, brought no peace or improvement to Ireland. The insubordination and domestic feuds, the blighting influence of foreign and Papal intrigues, and the ignorance into which the people had been suffered to fall-all these opposed its beneficial effects; and with the exception of some few English and Scotch settlements, between which and the Irish, religion raised fresh feuds and more bitter hostility, the darkness settled on our unhappy country thicker and more gloomy than before. In Ireland's moral history a few bright spots appear-Bedell, and Ussher, and Richardson, and Berkeley, shed a lustre on a part of it which seems scarcely to be its own; but their efforts were rendered useless, and counteracted by the politics, and the bigotry, and the ignorance of their times. Hostility was generated and supported by mutual injuries; contempt on one side was met by hatred on the other; and while laws were enacted whose severity could only be justified by the bitter and unceasing animosity which experience had taught the rulers of the country to expect, these rulers seem to have seldom looked to the only legitimate mode by which their influence could be maintained in peacethe extension of scriptural education and scriptural principles. The Charter Schools, an experiment which, though attended with incidental good, and prompted by patriotic motives, was not calculated, either from its extent or its management, to be effectual as a mode of conversion, and has long since been given up, in that point of view—the Charter Schools afford the only permanent example of an attempt by the public to meet the awful and prevailing evils, and until of late years, these evils, in spite of increasing connexion with England, and increasing property among the Roman Catholics, and increasing interest felt for Ireland among the thinking part of the British population, were neither examined in a Christian spirit, nor sought to be counteracted by Christian expedients.
We frankly declare our conviction, that the prevailing superstition of Ireland has been the great cause of its present state; we feel convinced from a view, and not an inaccurate one, of its history, that intestine discord, foreign weakness, degrading ignorance, with all its attendant evils, have followed, as a gloomy corollary, from the permanent establishment of Popery in Ireland; and, without exonerating the Irish landlords, whether resident or absentee, or the Legislature, by whom too frequently Ireland and Irish interests were and are treated and discussed but as the incidental topics of political partizanship, we hesitate not to state, that but little can be done to pacify, to moralize, to elevate this country until that primary cause be subdued. The principle which either subjugates the landlord, or involves him in a perpetual scene of discord with his tenantry; which deprives the peasant of free will and free action; which by an assumption of temporal and eternal power, adds the easily-recognised horrors of excommunication here to the menaced torments of an, unseen world; which, in fine, has an evasion for every difficulty, and an absolution for every crime,- such a principle as this must be either rendered inactive by the overwhelming power of moral influence, or fettered down by the omnipotent hand of
law, or exchanged for one better suited to the times and cir. cumstances of society, before any permanently beneficial change can be effected. It is to the last of these, aided by the operation of the first, that we would look; and already we feel that a commencement has been made, that an effectual door has been opened, and that a breach has taken place in the well-set but incongruous mass of Popery in Ireland, which will require more than all the skill of Loyola and his Irish friends to repair.
The last year has indeed been one of great importance :-we know not if one more pregnant with remarkable consequences ever dawned on our island ; and we are sure, that whatever aspect its political events may have borne, its influence on our moral and religious state has been incalculably great. The inscrutable wisdom of Providence has educed evil out of good, has made even “the wrath of man to praise him ;” and on the perverse
perverted follies of man has laid, we may hope, the corner-stone of religion and morals. The last year developed Popery; it displayed in all its colours the busy, intermeddling, temporal, POLITICAL nature of that system; it exhibited both to friends and foes the omnipotence of its influence where its power was acknowledged-the corrupting nature of that influence where its principles had full effect; and the ease with which was effected the desecrating union between the unballowed objects of worldly ambition, and the most sacred mysteries, and the most revered symbols, and the most holy names. Piety was shocked at the disgusting use made of religion; good taste was disgusted at the outrageous contempt of decency that was manifested; and common sense must have perceived that a religion possessing such powers, and, however it might by expediency bend to circumstances, ever advancing fresh claims, was substantially not less hostile to the interests of social order than to the pure,
peaceable, and spiritual doctrines of the Gospel. The very instruments who were employed as the political tools of the priest and the demagogue must have shuddered at the fever they had excited, and in the anticipated explosion, looked in vain for a safetyvalve by which to provide for safety. And what lias been the immediate effect of this storm ? Undoubtedly much exasperation, much party triumph, much that is sadly and seriously to be lamented. The passions of an ungoverned and ungovernable mob, excited by all that could be influential on ignorance and violence, were not likely to be quelled without melancholy results ; and the retaliations from the injured and insulted landlord has introduced late repentance, distress, and recrimination, in all their horrors.
In the midst of all, the Priesthood rode triumphant : they had accomplished a mighty work; they had proved equally to friend and enemy, that the spiritual thunders of the Vatican, though perhaps sleeping, were not “bruta fulmina;"- they had vindicated the dormant power of the Church, and had accomplished what all the eloquence and the art of their laycoadjutors must have failed to effect:--but they had done more than they had intended—they had given a practical contradiction to the smooth and delusive statements which, since the days of
Bossuet, their Church had been in the habit of putting forth; in the violence of their exertion, the mask which concealed the visage had fallen off, the robe which covered the person had been deranged, and enough was made visible to identify modern Popery with all that was most offensive and most dangerous in the violence of an Hildebrand and the profligacy of a Leo. The excuses for the conduct of a Priesthood that had in all its gradations stained its sacred functions, had enlisted the ministry of religion in the cause of political feuds, and made its altars ring with the most blasphemous denunciations, the excuses which were volunteered in the Association, and half repeated by their political friends, but exposed the unblushing effrontery of their pretensions, and the madness with which they can prostitute their system to the service of their party. The reaction has commenced -many of the votaries of Rome have had their eyes opened to its secular and unscriptural character, and have fled with horror from a contact which they had never before recognized; and the unnatural union of this world with the next, like the Mezentian punishment of the poet, has excited, when fully displayed, the natural feelings of repulsion. The openly-avowed pretensions of the Church must have alarmed the spiritual; the openly-enacted assumption of power must have excited doubts in the prudent, while the despotism which, closing with one hand the Bible* and the school, with the other rivetted the fetters on the body and soul of its votaries, must have excited to an examination of its unsubstantial claims every thinking and every independant spirit. We know not the effects, politically, which the late contests in Ireland may produce, but we feel confident that the progress of the reformation has been materially affected by them; that Cavan and Askeatou but exhibit the consequences and the results of the triumph in Waterford—we feel convinced that in many instances the tension of priestly influence has snapped the cord, and that universally it has produced a sensation decidedly adverse to the system.
The same effect has followed from another cause, similarly acted on by the Roman Catholic Clergy. For many years, the public mind, both in England and Ireland, had become inattentive to the doctrinal or practical eccentricities of the Church of Rome; and satisfied with having defeated its adherents in the fields of controversy, and agitated by the feelings naturally connected with the awful drama of the French Revolution, all dread of the system and its consequences were lost in pity for the sufferers, the aged Pope, and his Clergy. From other causes too, the Roman Catholic Church assumed a modesty in this coun
* The public has lately had an opportunity of seeing how far this system is to be carried if the contest now going on shall be decided in favour of the Church of Rome. It occurs in a late number of the publications of the Irish Society, where the following conversation is stated to have taken place between an Irish Schoolmaster and a Roman Catholic Bishop :-“. Will you not let us read the Bible ?"_" No." " With note and comment?"_" No.” “ With humility of mind ?”_ No!” “ With prayer ?"- NO; you can pray very well without it!!!”