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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 of

the

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