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“ The public have heard much of the grievance of tithe, and the cry has sounded forth, from many of the grand jurors of Ireland ; how should they be astonished then to hear, that in many parishes the grand jury cess exceeds the whole amount of the money collected for tithes, in the proportion of three to one ; sometimes more. This is the case with few, if any exceptions, in the province of Connaught.” Ibid. P. 16.
With regard to a proposal which has been frequently made, and favourably received, namely, to pay a stipend from the public purse to the Catholic Priesthood, and respecting the general claims of that priesthood upon the people and the friends of Ireland, we have the following observation.
“ If the question be considered merely in a political view, and as a remedy for the heavy charges of the priest, it is a matter of doubt whether the measure will at all correct the evil. The people are taught that it is an indispensable duty to pay dues to the clergy. This is one of the commandments of the Church, immediately following in their Catechism and put upon the same footing with the commandments of God-such is the policy of that system ! Will the proudly boasting, unalterable church alter this?
-and if not, how will the enslaved conscience be satisfied without paying; besides it is impressed upon the minds of the people, that the offices are only valuable and effectual when paid for. And supposing that a parish priest and curate, or two curates, are paid by government in each parish, what is there to prevent a swarm of friars of different orders, spreading through the land ; propagating error; strengthening bigotry and prejudice; stopping the entrance of light and knowledge ; impeding education ; vend, ing their offices, and imposing upon the people to their temporal and eternal loss. Would the people pay less, would the exactions of priestcraft, and the grievance of the peasant be dimi. nished ?" Ibid. P. 18.
“I come now to the last grievance of the Irish peasant which I shall enumerate. It is the greatest ; it is, in fact, the source of all ;-this grievance is his RELIGION; by this he is kept in chains of darkness; his mind is enslaved; the basis of popery is ignorance of the word of God; and the great aim and object of the priest is to keep the people from the knowledge of it. But that religion does not leave the mind in a blank state; it inculcates doctrines that debase and enslave it, and principles which demoralize it. The poor Irish peasant, who is at this day more under the influence of popery than the native of any other country, is degraded by it below the state of his fellow.creatures. He is the slave of the priest and his craft; he worships the very garments of his office; one of his greatest oaths is to swear by his vestments ; he trembles at his anger; he is horror-struck by the fear of his curse, and bows himself in the dust of the earth to obtain his forgiveness. The priest at the altar is to him a God; he considers him as endued with divine power ; he can forgive or retain sins, shut out from heaven, or admit into it, and by words fitly expressed, transform a wafer into a Saviour, and make it a God to be worshipped. The priest exercises a tyrannous sway over the mind of the poor peasant, who submits to even corporeal flagellation from his hands.” Ibid. p. 19.
“ Will it be denied then that the religion of the Irish peasant is one great cause of his poverty ? Being also enslaved in his mind and body to the priest, and to superstition, not having any portion of that light and knowledge of God's word, which invigorates the mind, and makes it free, he submits to the impositions of the landlord, nay, he is himself the promoter and cause of it. The landlord finds himself a slave, and finds he can be managed only as' such ; his degradation of mind fits him for oppression, and this oppression confirms his degradation. He is also demoralized by his religion ; he will cheat, and lie, and swear; he will fawn, and flatter, and deceive; he cannot be trusted ; he has no attachment to the law of the land, or to the government of his country; he breaks the law himself, and thinks it meritorious to screen the transgressor; his conscience is not connected with integrity, with faithfulness, with justice, with loyalty. The book that would teach him, and influence him in all that is good, is carefully kept from him; he thinks it criminal to consult it ; the terror of the priest is his great restraint; and the priest inculcates the great crime to be, rebellion to his own authority. The religion of the Irish peasant is not one which corrects the evils of the human heart; it is ceremonial, directed to the outward senses, to the eye, and to the ear: it is mere theatrical exhibition ; it conveys no religious knowledge. His religion is one of his grievances, and perhaps should be considered the source of all the rest. He would be altogether a different kind of being, if he was taught in the pure word of God, and lived under its happy influence. The writer cautiously watches over his personal feelings, for the wretched state of his poor countrymen, and restrains expressions which might appear too strong ; but he intreats the candid attention of all
good men to his statement, and begs their endeavour to discover the causes of our misery, and to devise relief-not" merely the temporary one which we are now receiving, which is indeed most bountiful, but of a permanent nature-some lasting remedy for the causes of our wretchedness. And he further in treats of them not to be deceived by an outcry against tithes, as if these were our chief grievance, which are in truth but a secondary and minor one; nor to imagine that the admission of Roman Catholics into Parliament would be any remedy. That question has no more to do with the miserable state of the population of Ireland, than the late Chinese dispute has. The writer has en-. deavoured to point out the true causes; he has done so to the
best of his judgment; if he is mistaken, or has expressed himself in any way unsuitable, he begs forgiveness; his object is to do good ; and he will rejoice if what he has written be the means of producing any permanent benefit to his WRETCHED COUNTRYMEN." Ibid. P. 21.
There is an honest business-like plainness in these paragraphs, and they carry conviction to the heart and understanding. They are evidently written by one who has witnessed the evils he describes, and is anxious to point out a practical remedy. Mr. O'Driscol, had passed over the real grievances of his country; and occupied bitnself with an attack upon ecclesiastical establishments. Having acquired his religious knowledge at Bible Society Meetings, having learned history and political economy in the Edinburgh Review, and making himself acquainted with the Church of England, through the medium of the Morning Chronicie, he proceeds with due deliberation to dole ou this discoveries in a style which may be formed by dissolving an ounce of Chalmers in a quart of Charles Phillipps. After toiling through his stores of confusion and ignorance, it has been no little relief to close our labours with the perusal of such a pamphlet as the “ Lachrymæ Hybernicæ.”
ART. III. The Inspiration of the Holy Scriptures proved
by the evident Completion of many very important Prophecies. By the Rev. Thomas Wilkinson, B.D. Rector
of Bulvan, Essex. 8vo. pp. 239. Rivingtons. The series of prophecies recorded in the Old and New Testaments forms one of the most convincing testimonies of the truth of revealed religion. That it is impossible to foretel future events without the aid of divine inspiration is evident; and hence, a series of predictions, clearly and minutely fulfilled, is the strongest proof of a revelation from God. One or two, indeed, answering to something future, might be the mere effect of chance; but when numerous, it precludes the possibility of their being only lucky guesses, or of their being accomplished by a fortuitous concourse of events; therefore they must have been delivered by the suggestion of Omnipotence. Prophecy, also, is a cumulative evidence; every age adds to the number of prophecies fulfilled, and the more receive their completion, the more and stronger are the confirmations of the truth of our religion. In this respect the evidence of prophecy has the advantage over the evidence of miracles. The latter constituted the great proof of revelation to those who were eye-witnesses of the displays of supernatural power; but the former constitutes the great proof to subsequent ages, and will grow clearer and stronger till the consummation of the amazing plans of providence and grace.
Important, however, as prophecy must be deemed, it is a subject of extreme difficulty, requiring the most cautious, patient, and deliberate investigation. No question in theology requires greater critical sagacity, or more extensive learning, in order to the full discussion of it; and many able divines have applied themselves with diligence and success to the illustration of the prophetical parts of Scripture. But most of those who have written upon the subject, have done it in a manner not well fitted for general use and edification ; they have written for scholars rather than the common people; and hence it has arisen that we have scarcely any work on the subject of prophecy which can be put into the hands of the great mass of readers. To supply this want is the object of Mr. Wilkinson's volume, which is expressly designed to exhibit to those who have neither learning nor leisure for abstruse researches, the irresistible evidence for the truth and inspiration of the Holy Scriptures derived from the evident completion of many important prophecies.
“ If," says he, “ we find in our Scriptures various prophecies which have been successively fulfilled, and are still fulfilling; when they are of too vast and too particular a nature to have been the conjecture of a wise man, or the guess of a rash one ; when these are connected with a system of religion evidently tending to the good of mankind; what conclusion can we draw, but that these Scriptures derive their origin from those who were thus sent from the Supreme Being, and therefore deserve the deepest reverence and the most undeviating obedience? Now, the prophetic parts of Scripture have, on this account, become the subject of inquiry and contemplation in every Christian nation. Our own has particularly distinguished itself in this important study. Such researches, however, were necessarily abstruse, and have seldom been adapted for general perusal. But from these writings may be drawn so many prophecies completed, so many extraordinary events (predictions) fulfilled, that a selection of them must convince every reader whose habits have not already made him hostile to the idea of a resurrec, tion to judgment. Omitting, therefore, all discussion, it is the present intent to bring forward those accomplishments only which are undoubted, and to make that accomplishment appear as plainly às possible to those who have not leisure for extensive and general study. That this, therefore, is a compilation from preceding authors need not be observed.” p. 7.
Such being the praise-worthy design of Mr. Wilkinson's volume, it was his duty to follow and compress, rather than add to, the labours of others : and this he has executed in a manner highly creditable to his judgment. He has presented, in a work at once pleasing and accessible to all, such a body of evidence to the truth of religion, that the unlearned Christian, to use the author's own words, may “ be enabled to silence the sceptic, or, at least, to tranquillize any doubts arising in his own mind." His modest and unassuming work cannot be read without advantage by those for whose benefit it was designed ; and this consideration is the best recompense of an author's toils. The proudest triumphs of literature are but as the small dust in the balance in comparison of the conscious satisfaction of him who has extended the faith of Christ, and promoted the glory of God.
The first prediction brought forward by the author is that of Noab to bis three sons, recorded in Genesis ix. 25--27. and he understands it as a prophetic description of the peopling of the earth. This is a more extended interpretation than is generally given to it, but it may well admit of it, as such an explanation does no violence to the sacred text. He then notices the predictions concerning the Israelites, which are explained in a very neat and succinct manner. Among the various prophecies in the Old Testament, respecting various cities and nations, he next selects those relating to Egypt and Babylon. He just notices that concerning Tyre, which many will be of opinion deserves to be further illustrated, but the fulfilment of the two former is excellently demonstrated. After this the author's attention is directed to the prophecies of Daniel, on which, in general, he makes the following judicious observations :
“ The words of this prophet carry the stronger conviction with them, becaase their authenticity long ago became the subject of discussion; and Porphyry, who lived A.D. 278, contended, that as Daniel's predictions were very clear down to the time of Antiochus Epiphanes, and very obscure afterwards, it was evident that they were written after the death of that monarch, the former part being history delivered in the manner of prophecy, and the latter part obscure conjecturés. Now it so happens that some of this latter part having been accomplished since Porphyry's time, turns out quite as clear as the former part. Therefore, either this proves that the whole is authentic, and written as pretended during the Babylonish captivity, or else, Porphyry's argument being valid, that