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and the Record Newspaper.
cabinet; nor are we aware that any one of them reads our publication. What, then, is meant by our wishing to maintain our character with them; especially in reference to the violation of the Lord's-day, concerning which the conductors of the Record know that no publication has for thirty years written more, or more strongly, than we have done? In the very Number of our work which they traduce (see p. 436), as well as in other places innumerable, this precise point of the violation of the Lord's-day by our cabinet ministers and other public men was the subject of our earnest remonstrances and reprobation. We do not offer these remarks for the consideration of the conductors of the Record, whose various attacks upon us, all written in the spirit of the above, we willingly leave to their own refutation, not wishing to contend with writers whose practice is to fling abroad firebrands, arrows, and death; but for the sake of some truly Christian men, who, reading such passages, might suppose that there was at least some shadow of foundation for them;—that a newspaper, lauded for its peculiar piety, and honesty, and its zeal against Neologists and Socinians, could not have coined such accusations just to serve a purpose, without any reality, or even semblance of truth. Yet so it is; and so the Record knows it to be. The meaning of the innuendoes in the above paragraph would seem to be, that for some unaccountable, mean, sinister, self-interested reason, the Christian Observer truckles to all that is vicious and immoral; that it is the friend and abettor of Unitarians, sensualists, Papistical demagogues, and Sabbath-breakers ;-charges so absurd, that we should be ashamed to waste a line in their refutation. If the Record can either write himself up, or us down, he is very welcome to do so; but, for his own sake, let him remember that persons professing to be Christians should not pen fabrications, even in a supposed worthy cause. The Record might easily have known, that, so far from evincing a spirit of self-interested time-serving, it has been our lot to sacrifice much, in more ways than one, to honest conviction, be that conviction right or wrong. Had favour rather than truth been our object, we could easily have found, or made, a party, as some other publications have done; and we certainly should not have taken, on so many questions, a side so unpopular in the aforesaid religious world Not that we regret it; quite the contrary: nor as that which we have advocated. should we care to allude to the subject, had we not been forced to do so by the absurd charges above quoted. Their absurdity is the best answer to their dishonesty we say dishonesty, because it is clear that the writer could not believe his own assertion. If he says that he did, that he seriously thought we had inserted lest our fair fame should our remarks upon Captain Gordon and the Bible Society be tarnished with Mr. Long Pole Wellesley," we can only say, that, after what he has already suffered himself to write, such an assertion would not startle us; any more than his saying that "the Christian Observer approves of religious members of parliament being silent where religion is concerned;" when, often and often, we have expressed in very strong terms the contrary sentiment. We leave the writer to He seems to think that between settle these matters with his own conscience. himself and his fellow Protestants, as he asserts in reference to the conversion of Our own view is so Roman Catholics, "the more exasperation the better."
different, that we shall drop the subject; for sure we are that the wrath of man
With regard to Captain Gordon, we assure him, with all sincerity, that our words,
We fear that it would be easy to prove that he gave much: it were enough had he written but one such assertion as the following, in the Record, in reference to the public meeting of the Bible Society:-" I never," says he, " met with any thing which depicted more meaningly and graphically to my mind the characteristics of actual possession, than the feelings and expressions that were excited by every reference to the authority of that blessed book, the Bible:" whereas Mr. B. Noel, his own seconder, admits that the meeting, though vehement, "was generally good tempered." In Parliament the same scene constantly occurs: he is one day called to order by the House; another, by the Speaker: he says to one member (we quote from the Record itself), "I fling back the charge of intolerance with contempt upon its author" (Christian contempt, and retaliation!); of another, "His sneers shall not pass without the indignant rebuke they deserve: he may prefer the intelligible, significant grimace, &c., but such conduct is unparliamentary, and not adapted to the manners or society of gentlemen: " and then, after all this indignation, rebuke, and charges of grimace, and standing up for parliamentary and gentlemanly conduct, and being called to order by the Speaker, he is constrained to apologize to the individual, as having imputed the whole of the charge without foundation; and then again telling the House that " he stands there as a Christian and a gentleman, repelling taunts," &c., as if a man's being a Christian and a gentleman were not best discovered by a course of conduct that does not require frequent displays of egotism or self-vindication. We wrote strongly, because we honestly thought that Captain Gordon, in pursuing such a course, while he is set forth by the Record itself as "expressing the sentiments of a larger and more respectable and influential part of the religious public than any other individual," is doing much harm, where the providence of God had enabled him to do much good. If the above is the way in which religion is to be vindicated, we are only sorry that " Mr. O'Connell, Mr. Smith, and Mr. Wellesley," have not happier specimens of its practical influence on the temper. It is easy to rail at Papists and Socinians, at High Church and Dissenters; but if "the respectable and influential part of the religious public" have nothing better to shew, as proofs of their study of the meekness and humility of Christ, neither will the glory of God nor the welfare of mankind be promoted by their efforts. Our duty, not our inclination, has forced upon us these painful remarks.
SUPPLEMENT TO RELIGIOUS INTELLIGENCE.
BRITISH AND FOREIGN BIBLE SOCIETY.
We append with much satisfaction the Monthly Extracts of this Society; and we wish for no better auswer to its opposers than is conveyed in these interesting statements. To the Sackville-Street Committee we repeat, Your regulation is miserably time-serving and scanty; and yet, scanty as it is, you do not propose honestly to act upon it. It is time-serving and scanty: you are willing, you say, to admit among you unbelievers of every class but one: you are ready to maintain fellowship (if, as you affirm, juxta-position in the Bible Society is fellowship) with Antinomians, drunkards, Sabbathbreakers, duellists, and profligates of every other name; with rejectors of the righteousness which is of faith; nay, with idolaters, gross idolaters; and yet you profess that yours is to be a pure society. Captain Gordon one day presents a petition shewing that Mr. O'Connell and Mr. Shiel are gross idolaters, and yet is ready the next to admit them by his rules as committee-men in the proposed Sackville-Street Society. He rejects only one class of heretics: nay, these are not rejected; for no questions are to be asked on receiving their money, nor is any regulation framed, or court of inquisition appointed, by which they may be denied office if they choose to seek it. There is in all this a want of plain, straight-forward Christian honesty: it is a time-serving truckling to carnal expediency. If you have any test, propose at least one that shall exclude idolaters from your communion; and then go on to shut out all other persons whose life or doctrines you disapprove. This will be manly and Christian; but if you are deterred by difficulties, if you knowingly admit any one to membership whom you do not believe to be a true servant of Christ, your own principles condemn you. Those who urge no test in the distribution of the word of God but a man's willingness to assist in distributing it, are consistent and conscientious: but to profess to make a Christian enclosure, and then, for expediency sake, to admit all sorts of corruptions within it-to embrace Pharisees, Antinomians, Swedenborgians, idolaters-and then to call yourselves a Christian society, just because you have a mock rule against Socinians, is a cowardly worldly policy, which can satisfy no seriously reflecting mind. Not so acted our Saviour, or his Apostles, or any branch, ancient or modern, of the church of Christ. Is this your faithfulness to your Lord; to exclude only one class of men as not Christians, and thus virtually to tell the wicked and unbelieving of all other classes who join you that they are Christians? The principle is unsound to the core: and our only wonder is how such a man as the excellent and highly-talented clergyman who seconded it—a man whom we esteem most affectionately for his zeal, and piety, and diligent pastoral labours, and amiable and ingenuous spiritshould for one moment have been led away by it. The terin Christian means either far more or far less than the objection to the Bible Society's rule would make it. If the Sackville-Street Committee coustrue it spiritually, why do they admit profligates and idolaters to their fellowship? if only in the lax sense in which it is popularly applied to all persons professing to be baptized into the faith of Christ, why reject one class of such persons? But, in either case, let them be faithful to their principles: their present rule, we repeat, is short-sighted, calculating, and trimming.
We append Nos. 85 and 86 of the Reporter, containing a fresh series of official disclosures of the habitual injustice and cruelty exercised towards the slaves. No. 87, which we are obliged to postpone till next month, is still more black in atrocities. How long, O Lord! how long!
SOCIETY FOR THE CONVERSION OF THE JEWS.
We affix the Society's Report alluded to last month; and heartily do we pray, both that Israel may be saved, and that the labours of this Institution may be abundantly prospered towards that blessed
THE HE subject of private meetings for prayer and religious conference has of late undergone much discussion among the Episcopalians of the United States, and many doubts have been expressed as to whether the evils which may attach to them do not preponderate over the benefits; in proof of which Bishop Hobart gave extensive circulation to the opinions of the late Mr. Scott, and other English clergymen of known zeal, wisdom, and piety. On the other hand, they have not wanted powerful defenders, among whom we enumerate with much respect the Right Reverend Dr. Griswold, Bishop of the Eastern Diocese. The question is at this moment of peculiar interest and importance among ourselves; and we therefore, with much pleasure, lay before our readers the following remarks upon it, by this muchrespected and venerable prelate.
BISHOP GRISWOLD ON PRAYER MEET
INGS AND REVIVALS.
The principal objection against the meetings in question, is their evil tendency. If no more were meant by this objection than that they are sometimes abused and made the occasion of various evils, it would be unnecessary to offer any thing in their defence; for what religion, or what part of religion, can be named, which has not been so abused and made productive of evil effects? CHRIST. OBSERV. No. 357.
Our blessed Saviour was particular in forewarning his disciples that such abuse, and to a very great extent, would be made of his Gospel; and most lamentably, in all ages of his church, have his predictions been verified. And we know well what use the enemies of Christianity have made of its abuses to prejudice the world against it. The disciples of Christ have much warning, and much reason, to be cautious how they use or countenance such fallacious reasoning. It is the grand art of Satan to frustrate every thing good by perverting it to evil effects. It is not indicative of a good cause that the opposers of these meetings should so much urge the stale argument of their abuse; and it is not a little encouraging to those who attend the meetings, that, with the disposition which has been manifested to disparage them, and after searching over the whole face of the earth to discover their ill effects, so little has been found. And if the argument from this little is to be of weight, how are we to defend other usages in the church? What, for instance, might not be said of the celebration of our Lord's nativity! What revellings, intemperance, and dissipation, to the great disgrace of the Christian name, have been, and still are, in most parts of the Christian world, the effects of observing that festival! It must, for hundreds of years, and in thousands of places, have been in God's sight as great 3 U
an abomination as what in such strong language he condemns in the first chapter of the prophet Isaiah. And yet truly devout Christians, who feel pious gratitude and holy joy in contemplating the "unspeakable gift" of a Divine Saviour, are strengthened and edified by celebrating his birth: and they would deem it very unjust and unchristian to be censured and condemned for observing Christmas, because even millions make it an occasion to frolic and carnal festivity.
In denouncing these meetings in our churches, it is usual to urge their effect, and the disorders they produce, among other denominations of our Christian brethren. But this is no just criterion: their notions of doctrine, order, and discipline, and their standard of zeal and religious feeling, differ from ours. Comparatively speaking, their religious systems tend more to ardour and enthusiasm; ours to moderation and formality. What we deem irregularity and confusion, many of them conceive to be the life and power of religion.
Nor is it necessary in the present question, nor likely to bring it to a fair issue, to urge the opinions of men and the practice of Christians in other countries. Facts and circumstances at such a distance cannot be so accurately ascertained; besides, what should also be considered, the habits and general information of the people, and the state of religion, are different in foreign countries from what they are in this. It is not believed that the meetings which Mr. Scott and other English clergymen have found to be productive of evils, are the same as ours here. And were they similar, they have been in our country so extensively introduced, and of so long continuance, that, from our own experience and observation, we may form a far more correct judgment of their expediency and utility. Our clergy, it is believed, have no need of sending to England to
ascertain what manner of meetings will be useful in their parishes. If in any instance, or any place, these meetings are found to be more productive of ill effects than good, it is in the power of the presiding minister to suppress them.
It is indeed not a little remarkable, and shews the paucity of evidence against these meetings, that Mr. Scott's testimony should be so often brought forward in various quarters of the world, from India to the United States, and by those, too, who, on any point at variance with their own opinion, would not, it is believed, deem his authority of much weight. The ministry of the Rev. Devereaux Jarratt has frequently been exhibited or alluded to, apparently for the purpose of shewing the ill effects of prayer meetings, and of labouring "out of season to save the souls of men. Of the history of his labours the writer of this article has but little knowledge: so far as that little will authorize him to judge, few have been more faithful, or more successful in the ministry, than Mr. Jarratt. He appears to have been instrumental in turning many to righteousness. If large numbers of those who had been awakened by his preaching afterwards ceased to walk with him, the same was true of our blessed Saviour. And of those who left the communion of Mr. Jarratt's church, many, probably the greater part, did not renounce Christianity, but continued faithful disciples of Christ till their death: and, what is most to the purpose, a very large number of communicants, several hundreds it is said, continued stedfast with their pastor till his death. Were his clerical brethren of the same time, and the same State, who disapproved of prayer meetings, more successful in the ministry than he?
On questions of this nature, we might expect that the opinion of "the pious Mr. Nelson "would have much more weight with Churchmen than that of Mr. Scott. Speaking
of such voluntary meetings in England, he says, in the preface of his much-esteemed work on the Festivals and Fasts of the Church, "Upon this occasion I think it a great piece of justice to acknowledge and commend the pious and devout practices of the Religious Societies, who, in this point, as well as in many others, distinguish themselves by their regular conformity and obedience to the laws of the Church. While they pay that deference they profess to their parochial ministers, and are ready to be governed by their directions, and are willing to submit their rules and orders to the judgment of the reverend clergy, I cannot apprehend but that they must be very serviceable to the interest of religion, and may contribute very much to revive that true spirit of Christianity, which was so much the glory of the primitive times. And I see no reason why men may not meet and consult together to improve one another in Christian knowledge, and by mutual advice take measures how best to further their own salvation, as well as that of their neighbours, when the same liberty is taken for the improvement of trade, and for carrying on the pleasures and diversions of life. And for those objections which are urged against these societies from some Canons of the Church, they seem to be founded upon a misunderstanding of the sense of those Canons." Such is the judgment of that charity which our Church, more than any other church on earth, inculcates; and such the language of those who most sincerely and impartially seek its peace and vital prosperity. The meetings in Rhode Island, which have been so severely censured, remarkably agree with what Mr. Nelson here so cordially commends, and thinks it a great piece of justice to commend: and here they have, in all human appearance, actually proved, what he supposes they must be, very serviceable to the interests of religion; and have, we humbly hope, contributed something, if not very much,
to revive the true spirit of Christianity. The laymen who attend the meetings do pay that deference they profess (and ought to pay) to their parochial ministers, and are ready to be governed by their directions. However they may desire such meetings, the people presume not to continue them, in case they have not the consent at least of their respective pastors. Our rectors, or settled ministers, are, by the authority of the Church, appointed the rulers of their respective parishes; and to them the people should immediately look as their spiritual guides. If the pastors err, they are amenable to the higher authorities. While the people pay this deference to their spiritual guides, it is highly unjust, and “inconsistent with the principles of Churchmen," to censure them for attending the meetings. None, we repeat, are more respectful or more affectionate to their pastors than they; none are more ready to strengthen the hands and to profit by the ministrations of the clergy. Generally speaking, none are more constant at the Lord's table, and in family prayer. Indeed, there are few besides pious communicants who constantly attend the meetings. If on any occasion, whether on the Lord's-day, or at other seasons, the church be opened for public worship, these of all Christians are (still generally speaking) most sure to be present. And dare we accuse, and judge, and condemn such people? Dare we hold them up to the abhorrence of Christians and the scorn of the world, as the enemies of the Church and of true religion? Is it not more agreeable to the Spirit of Christ to say, for their comfort, "Blessed are ye when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake?"
It is indeed affirmed that experience has shewn that the meetings in question have an evil tendency. But it must be general experience which can prove any thing to this purpose. A few instances, though found both