The compilation of a Synopsis and classified Index, has made it necessary for the author to re-read his work after an interval of thirty years. The perusal has fully satisfied him that the book is every whit as adapted to the present position of the popish controversy, the whole extent of which it covers, as it was when first published. Since then, it is true, two important dogmas have been promulgated from the papal chair; the Immaculate Conception of Mary (1854), and the Infallibility of the Pope (1870) ; but these decrees are rather the official ratification of what had been for centuries the teaching of Popes and popish doctors, than the importation of new elements into the question calling for a readjustment of the argument.
The loss of the temporal sovereignty, which has also befallen the Papacy since the first publication of this volume, is an event of graver consequence. But let it be borne in mind that it is the temporal sovereignty, not the temporal power, which the Papacy has lost; it is its paltry Italian kingship of which it has been stripped; not the temporal and spiritual supremacy of Christendom. Temporal power is a root-prerogative of the Papacy. With or without his crown, the Pope, so long as he exists, will be a Great Temporal Power. What signifies it that a small branch of this tree has been lopped off, while the trunk still stands erect, nay, is even stronger than before? Freed as it now is from the scandals, political and moral, which were attendant on its government of the Papal States, the Papacy is now in a better position for prosecuting its cherished aim, which is to be the supreme arbiter in all international disputes. It seeks, in short, to become President of a great European Council, in which kings and nations shall await its decisions, and be pledged to carry out its behests, peaceably if possible, by arms if necessary. From being the moral dictator of Christendom, it is but a little step to being, as the Papacy was once before, its armed ruler and head.
Will the reader pardon a word about the history of the book, and its Continental experiences? When the German translation appeared (Elberfeld, 1853), the Romanists of the Continent welcomed it with a chorus of anathemas. L'Univers of Paris cursed it energetically. The journalists of the Rhine were equally wroth. Without naming either the book or its author, they made their readers aware that a crime of fearful atrocity had been committed, which called loudly for punishment by the sword. We give a specimen: --
"A very shameful book has lately been printed and published in Elberfeld by William Hassell, consisting of thirty-six sheets, and in which Popery and the Catholic religion are exposed as a work of Satan and a restoration of old heathenish idolatry, and a cunning delusive invention of the Pope and the Catholic priesthood as the mother of revolutions and communism. From beginning to end, with the same cool deliberation, it consists of lies, injuries, and abuses, which have from time to time been brought against the Pope and the Catholic religion, heaped together, and made into one compact whole. The most unheard-of violence offered; and the holiest of the Catholics scorned and derided. The rulers of the country are exhorted throughout to observe how the Catholic religion causes the destruction of every State, and how the Catholic priesthood are even now endeavouring to exercise unbearable tyranny and cruelty over princes and people. . . . The Catholic Church in Prussia is a lawful safeguard against such calumnies, and the abuse of the Catholic religion is provided for in its penal laws." Rheimsches Kirchenblatt, Cologne.
In an article on the above in the Witness of Nov. 20, 1853, we find Hugh Miller saying: --
"The editor of this paper gave expression long ago in its columns to his admiration of Mr. Wylie's masterly work on the Papacy --a work which has since been extensively spread over Protestant Europe. . . . Still, however, his decision was that of a personal friend of the author, and the various favourable critiques which bore out his estimate of its merits were at least Protestant critiques. Our present testimony respecting it must be recognised as above suspicion; it comes from Popery itself, and we find that Popery regards it as a dangerous work, suited to do the Catholic religion great injury, and that penal laws furnish the only effectual instruments for dealing with and answering it."
Dr. Graham, in his volume, The Jordan and the Rhine, says: --
"This work has at last made its appearance in the German language. . . .The Papists are up on all sides, not to reply but to denounce, not to reason and answer, but to invoke the civil power. They never name the book lest an inquiring Papist should be inclined to purchase it. In Cologne no bookseller would take charge of it --Papist or Protestant. The argument is very sharp and severe, but the reason is led captive, and the infinite superstition dissected with a master's hand. It will confirm the wavering and strengthen the weak. May the Lord grant His blessing to it as a means of counteracting the idolatries and idolatrous tendencies of the age."
Since the first publication of this work the Papacy has made enormous strides to temporal dominion and spiritual supremacy in our country.
1. The public administration of the empire, which up till 1850 was almost purely Protestant, has since been largely Romanized.
2. The Papal Hierarchy has been established in both England and Scotland, and the ordinary machinery of Rome's government is in full operation over the whole kingdom.
3. The empire has been divided into dioceses, with the ordinary equipment of chapters and provincial synods in each, for bringing canon law to the door of every Romanist, and governing him in his social relations, his political acts, and his religious duties.
4. The staff of the Romish Church has been trebled.
5. In Scotland alone there has been an increase of 216 priests, 250 chapels, 15 monasteries, and 34 convents.
6. The priests of Rome have been introduced into our army and navy, into our prisons and poor-houses, reformatories and hospitals, thus converting these departments of the State into a ministration of Romanism.
7. The annual sum paid as salaries, etc., to the Popish priesthood approaches a million and a half, making Popery one of the endowed faiths of the nation.
8. Considerable progress has been made in the work of breaking down the national system of education, and replacing the board schools with denominational schools in which the teaching shall be Romish.
9. The annual grants to such schools in England and Scotland have now risen to £200,000. Thousands of Protestant children attend them, and are being instructed in the tenets of Popery, and familiarized with Romish rites.
10. Two-thirds of the youth of Ireland are being educated by monks and nuns, at a cost to the country of £700,000 yearly.
11. Ritualism has grown into a power in England. In many of the national churches the ceremonial of the Mass is openly celebrated, crucifixes and Madonnas are frequent, auricular confession is practised, the dead are supplicated, and new-constructed cathedrals are arranged on the foregone conclusion that Popery is to be the future religion of Great Britain.
12. All the great offices of State (the English wool-sack and the throne excepted), closed against Romanists in the Catholic Emancipation Act, have been opened to them.
13. The oath of the Royal Supremacy has been abolished.
14. The words "being Protestant" have been dropped from the oath of allegiance.
15. The most brilliant post under the Crown, the viceroyalty of India, has been held by a Papist, and may be so again.
16. An avowed Romanist sits in the Cabinet, with more, it may be, to follow.
17. Cardinal Manning has had precedence given him next to the Royal family, a step towards the like precedence being given to Popish over Anglican Protestant bishops.
18. A special Envoy has been sent with congratulations to the Pope on occasion of his jubilee, and a nuncio has in return been received at Court from Leo XIII.
19. There is a serious talk of re-establishing diplomatic relations with the Vatican;
20. And, mirabile dictu! the project has been broached of restoring the Pope's temporal sovereignty: and the idea is being agitated, although it must be plain to all that it cannot be carried out without overthrowing the kingdom of Italy and plunging the nations of Europe into war.
These are great strides towards grasping the government of the British empire. And all this has been done despite the warning testimony of the nations around us which Popery has destroyed, and in disregard of the unanswered demonstration of a modern statesman --
That to become a subject of the Pope is to surrender one's "moral and mental freedom;"
And incapacitate one's self for yielding "loyalty" to the Queen, and "civil duty" to the State.
If the end of this policy shall be good, HISTORY is a senile babbler, and PROPHECY is but the Sibyl, with her books, over again.