Popery Adapts Itself To The Natural Man

Tintern Abbey Monmouthshire Cymru Wales 01


In its outward dress, then, and external presentation, we see at once that Popery adapts itself to the natural man.  The Bible presents the Gospel to us in the most unmixed simplicity; the fruits of the Spirit are its choicest ornament, and the humbling of the heart is its proudest triumph.  It goes to the unlettered cottager, places the Bible in his hand, and gives him the saving promise, “Believe in the Saviour as there revealed, and live.”  In the external aspect of such a system there is nothing to catch the natural eye; to the man who is not taught by the Spirit, there is nothing peculiarly lovely in its fruits, and to the person who is not influenced by his grace, as there is nothing to charm the senses, so there is little to attract his favourable regard.  But Popery, in presenting a spurious Christianity, has dressed it up in all the meretricious ornaments of sense.  It has summoned to its aid all that may allure the natural tastes, so that if it fail to win the heart, it may at all events enlist the eye and ear in its behalf.  Thus there is no natural taste which is not pre-eminently gratified by Popery.  The lover of music and the fine arts will find his highest delight while he hears the sounds of the well-sung anthem thrilling through the vaulted roofs of a magnificent cathedral.  The admirer of architecture will draw a contrast unfavourable to truth when he compares the noble ruins of Tintern Abbey with the simple church on the hill side that overhangs it.  The antiquarian is provided with an ample supply for the spirit of research in the legends, the brasses, the ruins, and above all, in the claim it sets forth of resting its pretensions on a far-gone antiquity: while the ignorant and superstitious find all their wishes satisfied in the relics, the charms, the pilgrimages, the holy coats, the miracles, and the whole tissue of fanatical deception with which the system abounds.  The effect upon such minds is proved by the fact, that in those countries where Popery prevails, there appears to be no room for all the new schemes of quackery which abound in our own.  The Church has secured a complete monopoly, and finding that poor death-stricken man is ever craving after some unnatural mitigation of his woe, has undertaken to supply his utmost necessities, and to furnish a thousand charms and remedies to hush his longings, if it cannot cure his ill.

Source: POPERY THE ACCOMMODATION OF CHRISTIANITY TO THE NATURAL HEART at https://www.gutenberg.org/files/42280/42280-h/42280-h.htm, p. 1-2

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