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BY THE REV. W. MARSH, A.M.
Vicar of St. Peter's, Colchester.
PRINTED AND SOLD BY SWIN BORNE AND WALTER,
SOLD ALSO BY
HATCHARD AND SON; AND BALDWIN, CRADOCK, AND
In an age when Books are so multiplied, little apology is necessary for Abridgments. If the substance of a work can be given, the words and style of an Author be preserved, and all the arguments essential to his object remain, no injury is done to him. I have aimed at this in the present edition of the late Bishop of Salisbury's valuable “ CRITERION;" by which true miracles are distinguished from those which are spurious.. Not only the efforts of Infidelity, and the spirit of Scepticism, which have again appeared in our country, require publications of this nature; but the daring attempt of Superstition also, to impose on the credulity of men, by giving to the effects of imagination: the sacred name of miracles, loudly calls for such a protest. In our Sister Country of Ireland, in the north of England, and in the neighbourhood of the Author of this Abridge ment, Prince Hohenlohe is believed to have wrought such wonders as should convince all of the truth of Popery, and that miraculous powers are perpetuated in the Church of Rome, as the true and only Church of Christ.
This species of pious fraud, as it has been termed, is reviving fast in Papal countries. No sooner had the King of Spain restored the order of the Jesuits, than a miracle must confirm their right to the reverence and and support of the people. As the body of a Sacerdote Professo of their order, who died at Naples somewhat more than a hundred years ago, was brought back to Naples, whence his brethren had carried him at their expulsion, and was conveying to their splendid Church del Jesu, a lame child in the arms of a devout mother was carried to touch the case in which it was enclosed, and immediately, on the contact, the child, as they say, was perfectly cured of all its infirmities. Of this fact, an instrument was drawn up the day after by a public notary, and put in circulation forthwith.*
As Christians, we can entertain the charitable hope, that multitudes of our Roman Catholic brethren, though with an ignorant and superfluous respect for the external forms and artifices of their Church, are yet humble believers in our Lord and Saviour, and thus build on the foundation which God has laid ; t yet, as lovers of our species, as acquainted with our Bibles, and as protesting against the errors of the Church of Rome, we cannot look with indifference at such attempts to recover an intellectual despotism over men, and to establish, as truth, a system of religion which is not calculated either to humble man as a sinner, or to exalt Christ as a Saviour,
* A curious account of this and other professed miracles may be seen in the London Magazine for March, 1824.
+ Isa. xxviii. 16.-I. Cor. iii. 11--15.
or to promote holiness of heart and life. The doctrines of justification by faith in Christ, of sanctification by the Holy Spirit, and of the dutiful necessity of good works, as the fruits of faith and certain signs of sanctification, as held by Protestants in general, and by the Church of England in particular,* are alone conducive to the glory of God, and perfective of the happiness of
But an appeal to the Council of Trent, to the avowed principles of the Jesuits, and to the writings of our Reformers, will be abundantly sufficient to prove that the doctrines and practices of the Church of Rome have been anti-scriptural ; and therefore injurious to Europe, and to the progress of true religion in the world.
If this Abridgment of “ The CRITERION,” which has been long out of print, should in the least degree check the progress of such a system as Popery, or tend, in any mind, to establish the system of Revelation, the little trouble taken in preparing the Work will be abundantly repaid.
ST. PETER'S, COLCHESTER,
* Art. xi. and xii.