Barrow - BX1805 .B3 1852

XII INTRODUGTORY ESSAY. them, and where they have even yet no competitors. Popery is, indeed, unlike any other form of heresy; it resembles rather those odious shapes of vice which, however commonly practised, are too disreputable to admit of being avowedly vindicated. Unsupported by books, it finds an advocate in every unrenewed heart, and an argument in every unholy lust. Distrusting the fair field of contro- versy, it depends for success on political intrigue, and the subdolous workings of its priesthood. With such an adversary, we can only adopt measures of precaution. Like "the pestilence that walketh in darkness," the progress of the evil is most effectually stayed by drawing around the infected district a cordon sanitaire, in the shape of those treatises which have done good service in their day, and which may yet serve, if not to counteract the poison once imbibed, at least to arrest the contagion. Our object in the following remarks is not to supplement the argument of Barrow in his celebrated Treatise, but to introduce the reader to it, by attempting, what did not lie in his way, to trace the delusion of papal supremacy to its origin, and to show the bearings of this on the present aspect ofthe Papacy. Popery is, after all, one of the most ordinary phenomena of human error; it is but one of the many incarnations of the spirit of priest- craft. By priestcraft we mean the art of detaching the religious conscience of man from the Creator, its proper object, and deposit- ing it in the hands of his spiritual adviser; the art which reaches its consummation by cutting off all direct intercourse between God and man, by constituting the priest the only channel of communica- tion, and thus enabling him at his pleasure to open or shut the gate of salvation, or to prescribe such conditions of admission as may best suit his own interests or those of the system of which he forms a part. It may seem strange how a spirit so abhorrent from that blessed gospel, which brings the Christian man into close affinity with his God and Redeemer, which confers upon him the dignity of a "royal priesthood," and classes him among "God's clergy" (1 Pet. v. 3), should ever have been ingrafted upon its simple institutes. The history of the church, however, enables us to trace the process from its earliest beginnings. Long before Constantine established the hierarchy, and conferred emoluments and prerogatives on the church as a corporate society, as early as the third century, but still more in the fourth, we discover in the writings of the more zeal- ous churchmen unmistakable evidences of a tendency to elevate