HIS is no fancy sketch, but is the faithful representation of three clergymen of the church of England while performing some of their favorite devotional exercises. They are presented to the reader that he may be duly impressed with the fact that THE CHURCH OF ENGLAND IS THE GREAT BULWARK OF PROTESTANTISM! Behold before you three of the goodly buttresses of that bulwark! Disestablish and disendow the church of England, and we are told that Popery will find nothing left to stay its onward rush. It is well for us to know our benefactors; look then, gentle reader, and look again at three of the many clerical breakwaters which prevent our being deluged by the abominations of Rome! Those birettas, and copes, and girdles, are the bonds and rivets of religious liberty, the emblems of Protestant simplicity, the safeguards of the State! Unless England keeps these gentlemen and their church in its pay and patronage, it will cease to be a Christian country, and will become the unhappy victim of the Pope! The watchword is given, "No Popery!" Defend the church, whose precious priests so elegantly adorn their persons, and perfume themselves with incense, and then Protestantism will be safe! Disestablish their church, or even a branch of it, and the deluge has arrived!
In truth, this fooling about Protestantism is too transparent to deceive any but the most idiotic. The church of England has done and is doing very much to lead back this nation to that reverence of priests and sacraments from which our martyred forefathers delivered us. The evangelical clergy dare not deny this; and the Tractarians glory in it. The distinction between the Popery of Rome and the Popery of Oxford is only the difference between prussic acid and arsenic: they are both equally deadly, and are equally to be abhorred. It is undeniable that some of the most eminent divines in the Anglican church are straining their utmost to effect the union of their community with Rome, and their admiration for everything Popish is undisguised. As a rule they are bold, outspoken men, and are acting upon earnest convictions when they oppose Protestantism. Yet we are to recognize this English Popery as the great bulwark of Protestantism! We will believe it when we believe wolves to be the guardians of sheepfolds, felons to be the defenders of property, and fallen angels to be the bodyguard of heavenand not till then. Many of the clergy avowedly reject the very name of Protestant, and yet we are to accept them as its defenders! Protestantism has been wounded and betrayed by the church of England, and has found within its walls its most skilled and energetic foes. Bulwark of Protestantism indeed! Twin sister of Rome is nearer the mark. Look on the three graces in the woodcut, and see whether the sons of the Anglican mother do not bear a strong family likeness to those of the renowned scarlet lady of the seven hills! Indeed, so far from being scandalized at this remark, the gentlemen would own the soft impeachment with a smile, and think it a deserved commendation, for whatever other parties in the church may be, the men of this school are not cowards, and do not conceal their Romanising tendencies. Yet a church abounding with undisguised Romanisers is the bulwark of Prostestantism! Who believes it?
The fact is, that a strong and purely evangelical Episcopalian church never will be seen in this country again till the church is set free from the state. Then those hundreds of godly men who now remain in communion with Romanisers will form themselves into a truly Protestant church, and will in brotherly union with the other free churches form the true bulwark of Protestantism, against which, by God's grace, the gates of hell shall not prevail. It is a great misfortune that those who know and preach the gospel, do not come out voluntarily from the Anglican Papacy, but if they will not, every true Protestant should labor to separate the church and state so as to drive them out, that they may no longer be a shield to Romanisers, and partakers of their sins. The union of church and state is the nest for the Romish crows, down with it at once and for ever. Not one of its truths or its gospel ministers would be hurt thereby, but the truths would be separated from error, and the ministers of the word loosed from the bondage of their present connection with sacramentarianism. If Evangelical churchmen were wise they would see that the separation of the church from the state would be the birth of a pure church, the resurrection of spiritual life, the purging out of the old leaven, and by God's grace the best event that could possibly happen for Protestantism.
Reader, believe us, faith in Jesus brings salvation, not faith in priests; the church of Christ is not a state-made corporation, but a body of believers in Jesus. Take sides with Christ and his truth, and do not be duped by the clap-trap cries of the moribund state church, which will say anything to postpone its inevitable doom.
No. 30.From C. H. SPURGEON'S "Sword and Trowel," published monthly, price 3d.; post free, 4d.
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