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with the main stream of English tendency. The great object of his magnificent history, so sadly interrupted, was to set forth admiringly and sympathetically England, such as the Reformation, the Long Parliament and the Revolution had made her, to glorify the British Constitution preserved and strengthened by Protestant endeavours, and to trace the growth of the British empire, that erection of Protestant hands. But he was still more of a Whig than of a Protestant. His Protestantism was political rather than spiritual. It walked mainly by sight. His masterly and magnificent outline of the papal perils reveals at once its strength and its weakness. The greater reasonableness of the Reformed doctrines and the superior condition of those countries which embraced the Reformation assured him of the truth of Protestant Christianity; yet the long duration of the papacy somewhat oppressed his imagination and suggested the possibility of its perpetual duration. A profounder reading of history and of daily life, a deeper insight into God's ways with men and nations, would have reduced this oppressive wonder into transient astonishment and converted this long duration into a trial of faith, would have shown him that a Divine offer like the Reformation is never exactly repeated, and that men and nations having had good and evil set before them for their choice, are left to the fruits of that choice. The steady declension of the popedom during the last five centuries, a declension not less visible and remarkable than its escapes and revivals, might have assured him of its final doom and might have corrected the extravagance of his famous compliment to the stability of the Roman Church: She may still exist in undiminished vigour when some traveller from New Zealand shall in the midst of a vast solitude take his stand on a broken arch of London Bridge to sketch the ruins of St. Paul's.'
Such a disposition of events is exceedingly unlikely. It is to be expected that a system like Romanism in such accordance with the weakness and evil of human nature may under some degrading metamorphose, as some subaltern form of spiritual corruption, lurk on, the surviver of more than one existing state and nation. But it is matter of not less reasonable expectation that the English polity will outlive the Roman polity, that a state, founded in a considerable measure on respect for divine law and human rights and upholden by reason of its harmony with much of man's higher nature, will outlast a system based on the political and spiritual degradation of mankind and now
tottering beneath the weight of its ineradicable and accumulated vices. It is not unlikely that England, while still holding her place among the nations with eye undimmed and arm unshortened, will rejoice over the downfall of that papal power which she has so heartily abhorred, so steadfastly withstood, and from defiance whereof her might and majesty have so largely flowed. The English language, so mightily wielded against the crimes and corruptions of Rome, may be yet more gloriously tasked to set forth her overthrow. English genius, so loftily upborne in love of truth and freedom and in abhorrence of their foremost foe, may soar over her ruin in a still sublimer flight. It may be given to an English historian, in tracing the wonderful course of the popedom throughout, from its obscure beginning to its ignominious end, to exhaust the romance and complete the philosophy of history; and the fall of Babylon may enrich English poetry with its not least mighty and majestic song. And a traveller from still imperial England may sojourn in Rome when she has ceased to be the city of the popes, and may behold in St. Peter's, whether a gorgeous ruin or a secularised building, whether the seat of still inferior rites. or the abode of purer worship, no longer at least a papal temple.
THE CATASTROPHE OF THE PAPAL DRAMA.
The cup of wrath is ready mix'd,
Strong is the Lord, her sovereign Judge,
WATTS, Hymn 56, book i.
A JOURNEY through History is a walk with God-a journey full of interest and wonder for every open-eyed traveller even if unaware over Whose domain and in Whose company he is walking; but how beset with wonder, how steeped in solemn awe and solemn delight for each explorer cognisant of the Divine region and conscious of the Divine Companion! The charm of striking scenes, the awe of mighty events, is heightened and deepened by the conviction of their relation to the purposes of the All-Wise Disposer, of their subserviency to the good pleasure of the Almighty and Benignant Ruler. The pain inspired by the evil and portentous personages of History is lessened by the contemplation of them as ministrants of God's wrath and executers of His judgments, as those whose hearts He hardens and whose wickedness He overrules for the fulfilment of His purposes and the manifestation of His glory; while delight in valiant and godly souls, in true heroes and noble martyrs, rises into a loftier height when they are regarded as rejoicing fellow-workers with the Lord, as faithful servants of His will and gladsome ministers to His glory. The way is sometimes exceeding dark; the crimes and horrors of some period in History oppress and overpower us; God seems to hide awhile His face from us. But the journey is pursued; we reach higher ground; we look back, we look around; our God shines upon us again; and we bow before the manifested might and majesty of the Moral Governor. Falsehood and Tyranny have won a crushing victory over Truth and Freedom;
evil seems triumphant and supreme; the Good Old Cause, the very cause of God Himself, seems vanquished; when lo! a mighty man is raised up, a baleful power is stricken down; a terrible chastisement is inflicted; a great deliverance is wrought; we are uplifted into solemn sympathy with the Divine Avenger; we rejoice in a glorious manifestation of the Divine Deliverer; we are gladdened by a sweet visit of the Divine Consoler.
No portion of history more fully gives occasion for these mingled and manifold experiences than the story of the popedom. As Milton divinely says, 'I do not know of anything more worthy to take up the whole passion of pity on the one side and joy on the other than first to consider the foul and sudden corruption, and then after many a tedious age the long deferred but much more wonderful and happy reformation of the Church in these latter days.' The transformation of pure and primitive Christianity into medieval Popery, the metamorphose of that kingdom of Heaven brought in by the Son of God into the papal monarchy of Innocent III. is indeed a terrible and woful wonder. Yet amidst this signal corruption of Divine Truth and manifestation of human evil we may discern the restraining and chastising hand of God; nor would we keep our eyes shut to such service as He may have exacted from the papal power during those gross and dark ages wherein it arose and wherewith it had some harmony. Fullness of delight and wonder breaks upon us beneath the blissful brightness of the Reformation, amidst the marvels and glories of Divine Renewal; and now in these latter days we are called to rejoice with a solemn and trembling joy in the sublime work of Divine Retribution.
The more closely we consider the Roman Church, the more surely we feel ourselves in the presence of one who has been divinely delineated and divinely doomed, who has an evil prominence and a painful portion in the oracles of God; the more clearly we discern her identity with the Great Whore of the Apocalypse and recognise in the utterly fallen woman the utterly fallen and corrupt Church. In every accompaniment of that grim and gaudy portent who must not discover some peculiarity of Rome ? What ecclesiastical body except the Roman Church possesses the imperial pomp, the princely hierarchy, the gorgeous ritual and the gaudy vesture which may match the purple and the scarlet, the gold, the pearls and the precious stones
1 Apocalypse, c. 17.
worn by the woman? In whose hands is the golden cup full
2 Faery Queen, book i. passim. In c. 8, st. 29, Spenser identifies Duessa with the Apocalyptic woman. Milton at the end of Reformation in England brings in the foes of England consulting her sorceries. Matthew Paris calls the Roman court 'meretrix vulgaris et effrons' (p. 742). Dante, when among the papal tenants of hell, exclaims:
'You pastors the Evangelist had in mind
Inferno, xix. 106-8.
Petrarch, a daily observer of the papal court at Avignon, flung at it every feature and accompaniment of the Apocalyptic woman and branded it as the proper and exclusive original of the fearful portrait: That very woman in sooth thou art whom the holy Evangelist saw in the Spirit; that same woman I say thou art and not another. Recognise thy dress. Dost thou not know thyself, Babylon?' and he goes on to draw out the likeness (Illa equidem ipsa, es quam in spiritu vidit sacer Evangelista. Illa eadem inquam es, non alia. Recognosce habitum.
Noscisne teipsam, Babylon ?') (Opera, ed. 1554, p. 807).