In his "Conclusion" (p. 461), Mr. Rivington professes to give us "the verdict of history." Does this phrase come well from one for whom the "verdict" has been dictated before the professed inquiry has commenced? and is it usual to give a verdict before the evidence has been judicially summarised? Of this process there could not be, and there is not, a single trace in our author's volume. His readers soon learn what they have to expect there is very
little relief from the tedious monotony of unproved assumption, unwarranted gloss, and undisguised special pleading. No one will doubt that he has written throughout under a sense of religious obligation; but the Roman spirit, when it dominates a writer who is himself a recent proselyte, absorbs all other considerations into the supreme necessity of making out a case for Rome. Judging by the work before us, one could imagine that spirit as saying to such a writer, "Hae tibi erunt artes, Romane. No facts in regard to Church history can be for you so certain as is the view of it imposed on the faithful in the Vatican decree of Pius IX. You will therefore read that view into all your documents. You will assume it as in possession of the ground, and throw on opponents the task of proving its absence. Whatever seems to make for it, you will amplify; whatever seems to make against it, you will minimise, or explain away, or ignore. Such words or acts as imply deference you will strain into pledges of submission; such as point rather to independence you will slur over or disparage. You will assume that although Popes may err when not speaking under the conditions of the Vatican decree, yet what they may say about their own
rights is practically above question; and that, although they have no immunity from ordinary temptations, they are never betrayed into a love of power for power's sake. Some generally received rules of literary scrupulosity you will leave to men of the world, or to Protestants, who have no sacred cause to defend quocunque modo. Loyalty to Rome will determine how much of a passage or a sentence should be quoted in the text; or how far the reader is to be enabled by footnotes to refer to authorities and to judge of your accuracy. You will deal largely in assertion, and in repetition and reiteration of what has been asserted; you will not be afraid of paradox, in maintaining the genuineness of what has usually been deemed spurious, or the spuriousness of what has usually been deemed genuine. You will uphold the majesty of the Holy See by an air of superb confidence; you will apply to the defence of Papal authority the watchword of a great revolutionist, "De l'audace, encore de l'audace, toujours de l'audace!' Such 'boldness' suits the Roman genius, and is traditional with those who have best understood Rome."
A Churchman's "verdict," then, on this bold attempt to Vaticanise antiquity must be given
with that sincere regret which is due to Mr. Rivington's former and unforgotten services in the promotion of Christian piety, but which cannot be allowed to bar judgment where interests so serious are concerned. The thing furthest from the writer's intention would be to do him any injustice; nor is it needful to dwell on specimens of lax scholarship or false logic, on the too frequent absence of all references, or on the occurrence of references taken at second hand or misunderstood - a sure evidence of superficiality, of what may be called unreal knowledge. Such things might be complained of on literary grounds, if it were worth while. But graver issues are raised by a publication which is obviously part of a new Roman campaign against the English Church and the Churches in communion with her. It is a mere duty to speak plainly of the most untrustworthy presentation of a great period of history which has ever come under the writer's notice; there is no difficulty in understanding the influences which have determined its character; and the inevitable conclusion is that, so far from attracting any thoughtful Anglicans to Papalism, it will but confirm their antagonism to a system which employs - and requires - such methods of support.