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Our space forbids us to give specimens bearing more directly on the main object; but we gladly introduce the work to the notice of our readers. Rimini and Oxford ; or, the Miraculous picture of Mary, and a Divine
Portrait of the Church. Dedicated without permission to Pius IX.
Birmingham. Published by request. London: Ward and Co. On this Pamphlet the Birmingham Journal observes—“The wondrous works attributed to the canvass of Rimini, and the adoration paid to that winking piece of art, are the foundation for an exposure of the fallacies of saint and virgin worship, in which considerable erudition and force of logic are employed.
In “The ONE TRUE Church,” is discussed, a question intrinsically important, but seldom handled. Mr. Grant brings to the consideration of this subject, temper and discrimination.”
The Birmingham Mercury, (in a review extending to a column and a half,) says—It cannot be denied that during the last twenty years, since the passing of the Catholic Emancipation Act, the adherents of the Church of Rome have been indefatigable in their efforts to promote the advancement of their faith in this country, and it must be admitted that they have been tolerably successful, having increased from the possession of one hundred places of worship at that time, to six hundred at the present. Such a development of numbers has led to a bolder development of the Romish system in some of its most peculiar features, in reference to the orders and institutions of monks, nuns, monasteries, convents, jesuits, abbots, friars, &c., which so abounded in the middle or dark ages, and to which these re-introductions are designed to throw us back. Now the best way to prevent such a state of things, and to maintain the light of Protestant truth, is to imitate the conduct of Mr. Grant—not to propose legislative restrictions upon the Romanists, with regard to the development of their system, but to make such an examination and refutation of their doctrines, principles and practices, as shall render such “development useless and unnecessary.
Mr. Grant has taken advantage of the seasonable opportunity of exposing, in the most masterly and effective manner, the recent imposture of the “winking Virgin” of Rimini, sanctioned by the clergy of Rome and the Pope himself, who gave orders for the coronation of the picture, on account of its alleged "winking " propensities.
Passing from the this subject, (of the winking Picture,) Mr. Grant goes on to the root of the matter, the divine and immaculate honour ascribed to the Virgin Mary, and the worship paid to her by the Church of Rome.
« PROVE ALL THINGS; HOLD FAST THAT WHICH IS GOOD." 1 Thess. v. 21.
THE INSCRIPTION ON THE CROSS : ITS LANGUAGES AND
Fact in the history of this world, is THE CRUCIFIXION of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Prophecy directed the hopes of men onward to it; history directs their faith to the same central point. The importance of the event, and the peculiarities by which it was accompanied, are worthy the attention of thinking men, even merely as scholars interested in human history; whether sceptics or believers.
Whilst further, the circumstance we have now to examine, together with its tacit allusions, or parallels naturally suggested,—will serve as a fitting framework in which to embody an enlarged lesson respecting the nature and evidences of the gospel itself.
The subject is so great and manifold, touching upon so many various lines of knowledge, that we willingly reserve to ourselves the privilege of recurring again (in the same medium) to this important enquiry; in order to make up for the inevitable deficiencies of our first examination.
Indeed the topics here furnished or suggested, might well and profitably engage a life-time; and demand for their adequate exhibition the ripest s cholarship, and deepest thoughts of a great and sanctified intellect.
In attempting so great a theme therefore, honesty of intention, must be our apology for the boldness of the undertaking; especially as we do not profess to do more than to throw out such suggestions as may be completed by abler hands : whilst we are content to deduce a few plain lessons for plain people.
What then may be suggested, by the inscription on the cross, as compared with other circumstances in connexion with the rise of Christianity ? This question we shall endeavour to answer, by FIRST NOTICING THE INSCRIPTION ITSELF; SECONDLY, THE LANGUAGES IN WHICH IT WAS WRITTEN:
I. First, we shall notice the ecclesiastico-political aspect of this inscription "The King of the Jews."
In the Gospel according to John—(xix. 19, 20.) we read, “and Pilate wrote a title, and put it on the cross. And the writing was, Jesus of
Nazareth, the King of the Jers. And it was written in HEBREW, AND GREEK, AND LATIN.” In Mark's Gospel-(xv. 26.) this title is called “the superscription of his accusation;" also in Matthew-(xxvii. 37.) we are told, “they set over his head his accusation written, this is Jesus the King of the Jews.” This is the pretended crime for which “ the Chief Priests” of the Jews sought by popular clamour to obtain his condemnation from the Roman governor Pilate. Hence they said to Pilate, write not "the King of the Jews,” but that " he said I am King of the Jews.” They had in their own priestly conclave, condemned him for blasphemy, but having now lost the power of capital punishment, together with their national independence, they sought to gain a second sentence from Pilate on an entirely different charge of sedition or treason. Thus priests have ever acted, pretending to those holding the secular power, that heretics are seditious; and that the throne and the mitre stand or fall together.
As a bishop, addressing Charles II, an exceedingly profligate man, though a “most religious king,” observes (in dedicating to him the ecclesiastical polity of Hooker,) that “ sedition naturally arises out of schism;" and therefore all opposition to this polity is “factious and fallacious; yea, dangerous and destructive to the peace and prosperity of this Church and kingdom, whose inseparable happiness and interests are bound up in Monarchy and Episcopacy.”.
So the chief priests did with Christ, in the Jewish Inquisition or Spiritual court, they condemned him for blasphemy; and in the Roman Civil Court they accused him of sedition and treason. They changed a spiritual offence into a civil crime, and terrified the State to avenge the Church. This conduct by subsequent priests, was well described by one of the early English Reformers, in a work called “The Practice of Prelates ;" some parts of which read as a just satire on our own times. “ The old Scribes and Pharisees,” says this author, darkened the Scripture with their traditions, and false interpretations,” but our Lord having confounded “this juggling and hypocrisy," then these Scribes and Pharisees "got them unto the elders of the people, and persuaded them, saying, this man is surely of the devil, and his miracles be of the devil no doubt. And these good works which he doth in healing the people, yea, and his preaching against our covetousness, are but a cloak to bring him unto his purpose; that when he hath gotten him disciples enough, he may rise against the emperor, and make himself king. And then shall the Romans come and take our land from us, and carry away our people, and put other nations in our realm : and so we shall lose all that we have, and the most part of our lives thereto. Take heed therefore betimes, while there is remedy, ere he go that far that ye be not able to resist him.
The elders of the people, though before they in a manner favoured Christ, or at leastway were indifferent, not greatly caring whether God or the Devil reigned, so that they might bide in their authority, feared immediately, (as Herod did the loss of his kingdom, when the wise men asked where the new-born King of the Jews was,)and conspired with the Scribes and Pharisees against Christ, and took him, and brought him to Pilate, saying, we have found this fellow perverting the people, and forbidding to pay tribute to Cæsar, and saying that he is king, and moving the people from Galilee unto this place. Then Pilate though he likewise
was before indifferent, put now in fear of the loss of his office, through such persuasions, slew innocent Christ.”
“Even so ” adds this reformer, “our scribes and pharisees, now that their hypocrisy is disclosed, and their falsehood so brought to light, that it can no longer be hid, get them unto the elders of the people, the lords, gentlemen and temporal officers, and to all that love this world as they do; and unto whosoever is great with the king, and unto the king's grace himself: and after the same ensample, and with the same PERSUASIONS, cast them into like fear of losing their worldly dominions, and roar unto them, saying, ye be neglectful and care nothing at all, but have a good sport that the heretics rail on us. But give them space a while till they be grown into a multitude, and then ye shall see them preach as fast against you, and do their best to THRUST YOU DOWN also, and shall cry havoc, and make all common.”
The intelligent reader will easily perceive the analogies of this case with our own times, the "practice of prelates” our scribes and pharisees, is the same; they still terrify the elders of the people; make schism disloyalty; and appeal to the elders of the people, lest “ the Romans should come and take away our place and nation.' And these elders though before indifferent, nay even favouring with large sums the dreaded sect, yet finding their own authority in danger, like the Elders and Pilate, save their places by a timely or politic injustice.
Whilst of our scribes and pharisees, as all priests, (with or without the name,) the description of this reformer still holds good—“What care they? their causes must be avenged. He is not worthy to be a king who will not avenge their quarrels.” “The Prelates took the king's sword, (as all the kings' swords since,) . . and coupled their cause unto the king's cause, and made it TREASON TO RESIST THE BISHOPS, (as now) and thrust them into king's prisons, (as now) so that it is no niw invention that they now do, but even an old practice, though they have done their busy cure to hide their science that their conveyance should not be espied.*"
We however know well whence this practice was conveyed, transferred, or stolen, namely from the chief priests of the Jews, who led Christ away from Caiaphas, the Prelates' Court, to the Judgment Hall of Pilate the Civil Ruler, and changed the charge from blasphemy to sedition, from a spiritual question to a civil crime; that he might come under the scourge of the Civil Supremacy. Saying“ we have found this fellow perverting the nation, and forbidding to give tribute to Cæsar, saying that he himself is Christ a King."-(Luke xxiii. 2.) These lying priests had found no such thing; they had found that he denied the validity and permanence of their orders; and therefore sought to make him odious on another ground; as if opposed to Cæsar to whom they themselves were crafty and disloyal. They cared not for Cæsar, they hated his supremacy, but employed it to secure their malicious ends.
Now IT WAS THIS FALSE CHARGE, WHICH WAS PUT UP ON THE CROSS: the charge of treason against the Civil Supremacy: this accusation was written over the cross,—THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS! It was obtained by the deceit of priests, and yielded by the time-serving cowardice, and latitudinarian policy of Pilate the Civil Ruler.
* William Tyndale, “Practice of Prelates."
This is the ecclesiasto-political aspect of the superscription" of his accusation written over him.” A lesson that priests and rulers have too often followed; but which liberty, common sense and Christianity alike condemn.
This title was put up partly to shame the Jews, that their degradation might be mingled with their triumph; it was giving them gall mingled with vinegar. They wanted Pilate to write," he said I am the King of the Jews :" but no, he is your King.' It expressed contempt for their nation; this is the way we Romans trample on Jewish Majesty. “You charge him with treason, and force me to crucify him; then be it so ; behold your King !" Thus their private malice was at the expense of their country's honour. “Shall I crucify your King ?” “We have no king but Cæsar !"—the very multitude perhaps that once wanted to make Christ a temporal monarch; the very people and priests who hated Cæsar and his tax-gatherers. It was fitting that their own ignominy and the contempt of the civil power, should be shewn towards the priests and nation, that had thus by clamour wrested the law to their will.
This inscription on the cross then, involved the degradation of the Jewish people; expressed the contempt of Pilate, he would crucify "their King,” if they demanded a victim, it should be at their own expense :“ Jesus of Nazareth the King of the Jews.”
Thus is emphatically expressed to us, the conduet of a dominant priesthood, turning piety towards God into sedition against government; changing heresy into treason, and being themselves the scorn of the governments whose tools they are, and whose swords they employ.
And thus much for the inscription itself—its ecclesiastico-political aspect: we have to notice more fully
II. THE LANGUAGES IN WHICH IT WAS WRITTEN, and the lessons suggested thereby. It was written (John xix. 20.)“in Hebrew, and Greek, and Latin;" Luke varies the order, and says, it was written“ in letters of Greek, and Hebrew, and Latin." But the point they had to record, and to which our attention is directed, is not the order of these languages, but the fact of these three being used on that occasion.
1. And we may observe in the first place, the peculiar juncture of circumstances, which rendered the use of these three languages appropriate to a public notice.
At what other time, and in what other place, would such an inscription be of any public service?
Would it do in Greece or Italy now, where the Greek and Roman languages are forgotten by the populace; and where they know nothing of Hebrew? Would it not be ridiculous in England or America? Would it be of any service in Jerusalem now, or would it have been understood there, in any other age of the world? No!
Then how came it to be so suitable in the days of Pontius Pilate ? Because Jews by their travels, had learned other languages, and many strangers were in Jerusalem, at the annual feast, prepared to carry back the news to the countries in which they had settled.
But more especially, because the Greek language had extended very widely, both among the common people and amongst the learned; preSirving the mental power of Greece, when its political power