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Mr. Butler maintains, in his “Book of the Romancatholic Church,” that, “ in every religious controversy between Protestants and Roman Catholics, the following rule should be rigidly observed :— That no doctrine should be ascribed to the Roman Catholics as a body, except such as is an article of their faith.””
Protestants have no objections to meet their opponents on their own terms. The articles of faith of the Roman-catholic church are to be found in its accredited creeds, catechisms, formularies, and decrees. These received the finishing touch at the Council of Trent. The doctrinal decisions of that assembly are held sacred by every Roman Catholic in every country.
In compiling this small volume, the author has aimed to delineate the theological system of the Romish church, as definitively and authoritatively settled at Trent, and exhibited in the decrees of the
council, its catechism, and the creed of Pope Pius IV. He has also endeavoured to render the work interesting to general readers by interweaving historical sketches, illustrative of the spirit and tendency of the sentiments maintained by Roman Catholics. The whole is intended to present a picture of Popery as it is, fairly and faithfully drawn.
John MOCKETT CRAMP.
St. Peter's, Isle of Thanet,
May 20, 1831.
THE SECOND EDITION.
In preparing this edition for the press, the work has been thoroughly revised and slightly enlarged. The additions are chiefly to be found in the notes, the chapter on Monasticism excepted, which is almost wholly new. In the Appendix are now first inserted some remarks on the rise and progress of the Papal system, a list of the principal Councils, a chronological list of the Popes, the decree of the fourth Council of Lateran respecting heretics, and that of the Council of Constance on safe-conducts, together with a notice of the present state and prospects of Popery.
An accurate knowledge of the Romish system is more than ever desirable. The nineteenth century—the age of education and improvement — is also distinguished by the revival of Popery. The leading peculiarities of that hateful imposture are zealously maintained by many influential members of the Protestant University of Oxford, and it is said that the same opinions are cherished by not a few in other parts of the kingdom. This movement is regarded by Roman Catholics with great satisfaction. In a discourse delivered last year by Dr. Wiseman, before the Catholic Academy of Rome, “ On the present State of Protestantism in England,” he assured his audience that the most enlightened men of Great Britain have renounced their prejudices against Catholicism, and acquired
a decided leaning to Romish doctrines; in proof of this assertion he referred to the Oxford Tracts. Meanwhile, Roman Catholics are exerting themselves for the propagation of their heresy with a zeal worthy of a better cause. They are building spacious places of worship, and have revived in this country all the ancient pomp of their ceremonial. The press, too, teems with productions characterized by plausible reasoning, fascinating eloquence, and great display of learning, in which it is attempted to disprove the tenets of Protestantism, to shake the credit of evidence which has been long deemed indisputable, and to reinstate Popery in public favour as the only authentic form of Christian profession. Very strenuous efforts at proselytism are now made in the Colonies, in the South Sea Islands, and in British India; and in numerous instances, if Roman-catholic writers may be believed, with considerable success. In fact, the renewed subjugation of England and her dependencies to the sway of the Roman Pontiff is already considered by them a probable and not very remote event.
However that may be, it is high time for Protestants to awake from their slumber and unite in defence of common principles. Ignorance is inexcusable, indifference is criminal, and delay may be perilous. All men ought to know what Popery is, and how it became what it is, and to be put on their guard against its mischievous tendencies. More especially is it needful to explain and enforce Chillingworth's celebrated saying—(now, alas ! forgotten by some, and impugned by others)—THE BIBLE, THE BIBLE ONLY, IS THE RELIGION OF PROTESTANTS. This is the rallying point-may it never be forsaken!
J. M. C. St. Peter's, Isle of Thanet,
March 18, 1839.