Barrow - BX1805 .B3 1852

INTRODUCTORY ESSAY. BY THE EDITOR. SUBJECT OFTHE TREATISE. THE recent papal aggression, whatever may have been its other results, has had the effect of turning men's minds, more intently than they have been for a whole century and a half, to the study of the popish question. Towards the close of the seventeenth century, the political state of England, with a papal bigot on the throne, bent on reducing it to the domination of Rome, and with papal allies on the Continent, backed by a servile faction at home, re-awakened the old controversy, that had lain dormant from the time of the Reformation, and produced an array of talent and learning in defence of protest- ant truth unsurpassed by any thing of the kind either before or since that era. The Reformers had to deal with Popery as a system of religious error ingeniously defended, and as a political nuisance which re- quired to be swept away. Their successors in the same field had to deal with it as a system of practical aggression ingeniously contrived, an insidious foe, whose approaches were to be obviated by erecting the most powerful bulwarks. The works of Barrow, Tillotson, Chil- lingworth, Stillingfleet, and other champions of Protestantism, cannot be said to have beenelicited by anyvigorous controversial writing on the side of the Romanists. The church of Rome has seldom been largely indebted at any time to the literary advocacy of her children; but at the period to which we refer there was no defence of Popery, worthy of the name, to demand such an amount of ponderous eru- dition and elaborate reasoning. It was the dread of Popery as a system of religious, and more especially of political despotism, as the sworn ally of arbitrary power, that whetted the intellect and nerved the energies of these defenders of our faith. They had to contend not with Papists, but with Popeiy; and their names are associated with victory in a field where none have ever ventured to encounter