Background Image
Table of Contents Table of Contents
Previous Page  15 / 470 Next Page
Basic version Information
Show Menu
Previous Page 15 / 470 Next Page
Page Background

INTRODUCTORY

ESSAY.

BY THE

EDITOR.

SUBJECT

OF

THE

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 been

elicited

by any

vigorous 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