صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

having refused to supply them, in consequence, as they alleged, of the Society's prosecutions.

The committee of management of the Society deem it necessary to state that its method of proceeding for preventing the profanation of the Sabbath is changed, inasmuch as it is now confined to cases in which parishes themselves may be desirous of resorting to the Society for aid and advice. The costs of such interference the parishes are required to pay, in order that the Society's funds may be exclusively applied to putting down the trade in licentious and blasphemous publications. The number of the Society's summary prosecutions against this class of offenders has amounted to upwards of two thousand, and in numerous instances they were undertaken at the request of magistrates and ministers of parishes. CHURCH MISSIONARY SOCIETY:


With devout thanksgiving to God we record the success with which it has pleased Him to prosper the Church Missionary Society's labours at Tinnevelly, in South India. The gratifying particulars are thus stated by the Missionaries Rhenius

and Schmid::

"When we came hither, we had no congregation, except the people of our households, with a few persons of the Tanjore mission; and no Christian schools, but 6 or 7 Heathen schools, which the philanthropic exertions of the former chaplain had left for our superintendance. Now, we have 214 villages, in each of which there is a number of Christian families, formed into 64 catechists' stations; containing, in all, more than 2000 families, consisting of more than 7500 souls, instructed by 64 native catechistteachers or catechists 62 Christian schools; of which 38 are taught by separate masters, and 24 by the catechists, in which 1300 children (including 112 girls) are instructed - 36 native youths form a seminary, from which a number have, in the course of the last six years, been employed in the congregations and schools. There are in these 244 villages at least 150 churches or prayer-houses, many of which are old Heathen temples. We have said only 150 churches, but nearly every one of the 244 villages has a separate building for prayer and instruction."

The operations of the Church Missionary and similar Societies rest upon the direct command and promise of God; upon duty, and not upon success; for in the darkest night of disappointment, the obligaation to preach the Gospel to the Heathen is as sacred as in those glowing periods when the work of God seems most to prosper in our hands. But not the less should we thank God, and take fresh courage, when it pleases him thus signally to display CHRIST. OBSERV. No. 352.

his mercy, and to bless the labours of his servants. Alternations of prosperity and adversity are a part of the usual trial under which he places institutions of this nature. It was at the moment of the greatest dejection in the South-Sea mission of another society that suddenly the vast Pacific Ocean began to be illuminated with the matin beams of the Sun of Righteousness; and it was just when the blight upon the promising, and perhaps too much boasted, blossoms of Western Africa had chilled the hearts of some of the zealous servants of Christ in the Church Missionary Society, that it pleased Him who is infinitely wise, to reveal his arm in Southern India. Let us then rejoice, yet with trembling; giving to Him the glory of what he has wrought, and expecting a reverse the moment we look to an arm of flesh, and begin to boast of the Babylon which we have built.



The number of pupils connected with the Union is estimated at 400,000, and of teachers at 55,000. Including those not connected, the whole number in the and 75,000 teachers. country is estimated at 550,000 scholars The Union has

published works which would fill 200
small volumes. It has also undertaken
to establish Sunday schools through-
out the valley of the Mississippi, within
two years.
One gentleman had already
offered 4000 dollars to aid in this project.


We continue to look with much interest at the discussions in the Church of Geneva, relative to M. Gaussen, because we perceive in them, as we trust, the germ of important benefits, beyond the immediate occasion of the controversy. Already has much attention been excited to the points in agitation; the question is every where asked, "Are the doctrines which M. Gaussen preaches, such as the fallen and helpless condition of mankind, the Divinity and atonement of Christ, and the influences of the Holy Spirit, the doctrines of Scripture?" Meetings for spiritual edification have been established in Geneva, and many persons who never before seriously reflected upon religion, are begin ning to take an earnest interest in the subject. M. Gaussen has not been betrayed either into those doctrinal errors which impeded M. Malan's usefulness, or to a secession from his church, which cur

tailed his influence." I cannot," he says, "comprehend why I am to quit my church, and cease to proclaim in its communion those truths which were preached in her bright days, just because the majority of her pastors have thrown them off. Ought I, as a point of honour, to leave my parish, where I preach salvation by the


we doubt not that by the blessing of God, as the blood of the martyrs was ever the seed of the church, the persecutions which have assailed such men as M. Gaussen, will lead to serious discussion and prayer, and that even yet the church of Geneva will be a praise in the earth.

blood of Christ, because as I conceive others do not preach it in theirs? Ought 1 to separate myself from the ancient Church of Geneva, in which Jesus Christ was adored as the true God and eternal life, because in my eyes others are no longer of it? So far from thinking that I ought in honour to leave the church because it is in danger, I think that honour requires me to cleave to it more than ever, and to embrace it to the last."

M. Gaussen has thrown much light upon the insidious process by which the orthodox catechism was silently and gradually set aside, and the present exceptionable formulary substituted in its place. Some forty or fifty years ago Ostervald's Catechism was introduced, but constant alterations for the worse were made in rapidlysucceeding editions: as, for example, one edition has this advertisment: "The best works may be improved; so it is here; some skilful hands at Lausanne have touched it up." Again, in another impression: "Several truths have been more clearly handled in this edition;" a specimen of which touching up and clear handling appears, for instance, in the section entitled,

"On the divine and human nature of Jesus Christ," which is altered to "On the person of Jesus Christ." By and bye we read, "This catechism has been modelled upon that of Ostervald;" but in the modelling was lost the doctrine of the fall of man, and the Divinity of Christ. This under-ground process is most dishonourable to those who planned and conducted it. The greatest possible publicity ought to be given to the re-modelling of ecclesiastical documents; and the disingenuous secrecy of the business proves that the pastors were conscious they were contravening the doctrines of their church. If any new proof were wanted of the fearful state of things in the Church of Geneva, it will be found in the fact, that M. Cheneviere, one of the most celebrated of its pastors and professors, has just published a treatise" On the Theological System of the Trinity," in which he boldly asserts as his reasons for obtruding his book on his countrymen and the world, that the blessed doctrine of the Divinity of Christ disfigures religion, impedes the progress of the Reformation, multiplies sceptics, and is a most deplorable error. How many months, or weeks, or days, would a clergyman in the Church of England, or a professor in our universities, be permitted to retain his offices after such a declaration; and yet, while M. Gaussen is persecuted, no ecclesiastical censure has been passed upon M. Cheneviere. Will not God visit for these things? Has he not indeed already visited by the fearful spiritual lethargy which has fallen upon this corrupted church? Yet we rejoice to see symptoms of hope; many are beginning to awaken from their slumbers; and


We lament to learn that the absurd and senseless, as well as unchristian, persecu tions in the Canton de Vaud still continue. In vain have both reason and Scripture spoken; in vain has all European and American Protestantism remonstrated; the persecutions still continue. The chief officer of the council of state of the canton has recently issued a decision of the council for the banishment of a mother and her two daughters-the former a venerable woman of seventy-five years of age, a native of the canton, married to a Genevese; having lived in the parish where she now resides for more than a third of a century; and labouring under great weakness, infirmity, and affliction, under which religion is her only consolation--for the sole crime of their being righteous overmuch, enthusiasts, or whatever else may be implied in the official charge of "l'état d'exaltation religieuse où s'est jetée cette famille." Thus every person who labours under the atrocious crime of having more "exaltation religieuse" than his neighbours, is to be banished from his country; and this without distinction of age or sex: the widow and the orphan who pray to God when they have no earthly comforter. are especially likely to be included; and this without any overt act, any illegal conventicling, any unlawful assembling at family prayers. We rejoice, however, to learn that poor Frances Maria Dominique and her daughters are not yet deported, and we trust are not likely to be so, as, in consequence of the revolution in the Canton de Vaud last December, the muchabused power of the autocracy of the council of state is broken; and a petition has been sent in to the constituent assembly of the canton, from the friends of religious liberty assembled at Lausanne, strongly urging that the new constitution should guarantee the free exercise of religion and religious worhip, without any distinction of sect. We fear, however, that the result of the spirit of bigotry which has been displayed by the council and clergy, may ultimately cause such a re-action as will deprive the canton of the momentous benefits of a national church-establishment. The periodical press has found its way to these retired glens; and a warm controversy is in progress, which, beginning with the question of the right of every man to worship God according to the dictates of his conscience, has swerved into the quite different ques

tion of a national church-establishment; the defenders of which have stultitially mixed up the two, and told their opponents that "to allow of unlimited religious toleration, and the right of making proselytes, would be to erect the empire of force and fraud over the just empire of law, reasou, and equity." This bigotted ultraism gives a powerful pretext to the sceptics and infidels, if such there be in the convention, to abolish the national protection of religion altogether; an alternative which the religious party might perhaps be induced to prefer to the tender mercies which they experienced under the old system. Mde. Dominique herself might think she could not have fared worse, would probably have fared better, under a government avow edly atheistic; and thus is Christ wounded in the house of his professed friends.


RELIGION IN FRANCE. Some greatly exaggerated statements having obtained currency respecting the rejection of Popery, and the adoption of more Scriptural views, by large bodies of Roman-Catholic priests, the Continental Society have circulated the following more correct intelligence, received from a correspondent in Paris. It will be painful, to those who have cherished overexcited hopes, to find them disappointed; but if it lead to renewed exertion and prayer the temporary disappointment will not be without fruit.

[ocr errors]


It is of the utmost importance the Committee should have a just idea of the new field of operations in the midst of which they have sent me forth. I shall endeavour to depict it. I shall not repeat what has been stated a hundred times respecting the religious condition of this people. I shall only say, that what you have been told has in no way been exaggerated; that Popery seems fallen, the churches are deserted, the priests discredited, and without influence; and that, in lieu of it, the most complete indifference and entire unbelief exercise an unrestrained sway. Moreover, infidelity is attempting a plan of organization form a body to become an acting power. It is thus that the Saint Simoniens are now displaying, and not without success, the greatest activity to spread abroad the venom of their infidel principles. They occupy in Paris the largest and the most handsomely fitted halls, where they meet, and the crowd follow them every where. The most popular of our politico-philosophical newspapers, The Globe, edited by the highest literary men, dedicates its columns to the propagation of these monstrous doctrines. Their fundamental prin ciple is this Religion is to perfect the social condition of man: therefore Christianity is no longer suitable for society, because it sets the Christian apart from

other men, and leads him to live for another world. The world requires a religion that should be of this world, and consequently a god of this world.' This is the basis of that doctrine which at the present moment threatens to make large inroads on enlightened society. It is too metaphysical for the common people, but the others seem delighted with it. The picture is very dark-a people altogether indifferent, carrying the distance at which they stand, of all religion, even to hatred --an enlightened state of society framing infidelity into a system, in order to propagate it by every possible means. These two parties, leagued against the Gospel through different motives, constitute the public opinion of the day. Such is the state of the people among whom your Society calls me to raise the standard of the Cross. Christians have been at work here for some years past, and with much devotedness; they begin to reap much success. The following is the plan they pursued:-They found it was difficult, nay, impossible, to get access to the people in a straight-forward course to offer them the Gospel, the people being unwilling to listen to any thing that savours of religion: they in consequence endeavoured to work with the children; they opened free-schools, which they entrusted to Christian masters; they exerted themselves in order to prevail upon children to attend those schools, and through that means to get near the parents. This plan succeeded: they have numerous schools, through the instrumentality of which they have attracted the parents to come and hear the Gospel. Their congregations are increasing in number with great rapidity. The places where they hold their meetings are becoming too small to contain the crowd who come to hear. Are you willing to adopt a similar plan, and to put it in execution? Do your pecuniary resources admit of it? If you cannot follow such a plan, I doubt whether you will ever meet with great


[ocr errors]

If I had thought that your Committee could for an instant have been deceived by a report which had reached them, that two or three thousand Roman-Catholic priests had been converted to Protestantism, I should have written immediately to undeceive you. I am not aware of one Catholic priest having renounced Popery. What gave rise to this fable is, that there has lately appeared a new party in the Romish Church: it is an association of priests, who call themselves French Catholics, and whose principal end appears to be to oppose Jesuitism and Ultra-Montanism. They celebrate the mass in French. They adopt no books as inspired, but those which are recognised as such in our Church. Excepting these points, they are as much Catholics and Papists as others.

"I fear also that many exaggerate much the progress of the Gospel, and the good disposition of the people to receive it. Circumstances are, doubtless, incomparably more favourable now than they were six months ago; but the hearts of men

are just as hostile to the Gospel. The scenes which signalized at Paris the last days of the carnival, have shewn clearly the profound hatred of the people for what they call religion."


WE pass overthe Foreign Intelligence of the month-such as the still unsettled state of Belgium; the dissolution of the French Chambers; the quelling of the popular effervescence in Italy by the Austrian armies; and the important successes of the Poles over the Russians, a prelude, we would trust, to the expulsion of the invader, and the rescue of Poland from an unjust and tyrannical foreign yoke-to address ourselves to that which constitutes the most important subject of anxious thought at the present moment, the extraordinary state of our own beloved country.

Our remarks shall, however, be few; for though we had intended to redeem our pledge of examining what appeared to us the prominent aspects of the Reform Bill, in reference to its probable moral and religious bearings-(topics eminently important, but too little heeded within the walls of Parliament)—we shall be able to find a more calm and seasonable occasion for such an inquiry than the present crisis of feverish excitement, which every Christian, every lover of his country, would wish rather to allay than to foment. It appears to us that both the friends of this measure and its opponents are justly censurable for the spirit in which we speak of course of the more warm partizans on either side-they have conducted their warfare; and it is well if the result is not to alienate the minds of the people from public men of all classes, and to lead them to view politics as a mere party trade for selfish interests, and not for the national welfare. We know not whether most to blame,-the unblushing advocacy of bribery, corruption, and the whole profligate and venal system of what is called "boroughmongering; " or those inflammatory appeals to popular passions, just to gain this question, which have set the whole nation in a ferment, and opened a way, we fear, to future demands, which cannot, and ought not to be, com

plied with. The newspapers have been encouraged to minister daily aliment to a depraved appetite. Nothing has been heard of but jobs, sinecures, enormous salaries, and over-taxation; till the multitude have been maddened into political reformers; buoyed up with the delusive

hope that nothing is wanting but a repeal of these grievances to render us all wise, virtuous, wealthy, and happy. There has been lamentably too much of such hollow, paltry trickery on both sides; and we fear that all will hereafter suffer for it; from the feelings of popular odium and contempt which have been generated in regard to our Houses of Parliament, Lords as well as Commons, and to all our public institutions; destroying that honest, manly confidence, which is no feeble guarantee for public honour and good conduct.

The immediate cause of the abandonment of the Reform Bill by Government, which was followed by the dissolution of Parliament, was the majority (299 to 291) gained by the Opposition on General Gascoyne's proposition, that it was not expedient to diminish the number of members for England and Wales-thus damaging the bill beyond reparation; which was followed by another majority against Ministers for an adjournment of the House on a night when a portion of the supplies was to have been voted. The King, to shew his determination to support his ministers and the Reform Bill, prorogued Parliament in person, delivering a speech expressive of his determination to appeal to the country, That he had a constitutional right to act thus, is by none denied; and as little can it be doubted, that, as Ministers had pledged themselves to stand or fall by the measure, they could not, after all that had occurred, do otherwise than advise his Majety to exercise his prerogative. The Opposition do not seem to have been fully prepared for this alternative. It had been currently reported that the King had been induced to waver; and Ministers also, it was said, would be constrained to make many important concessions in the details of the Bill, rather than risk a dissolution. But the die was cast: it was clear that the Bill, in any thing like its present form, could not be got through Parliament, and Ministers determined to throw themselves upon the country. The result remains to be seen. If measured by popular feeling, their majority in the new elections would be very large; but as much of the main strength of the House of Commons lies at present in the hands of the very persons

who are most interested in poposing the projected measure, powerful efforts will be made to diminish it. There seems, however, little reason to doubt that Government will, upon the whole, gain such a majority as will send their Bill to take its trial with some strength in the House of Lords. Should it stop there, with the King, the Commons, and the numerical majority of the public in its favour, the results might be very serious.

We forbear, as before stated, entering at present upon the merits or demerits of the Bill; but we must offer a few words in reply to some of our correspondents, who have put the question to us, How would a Reformed Parliament affect the interests of the Established Church? We should have less hesitation in offering in reply the most favourable opinion, if the Established Church were in that state of spiritual efficiency which would command to a due extent the affections and suffrages of the people. But this is at present deplorably not the case; and much of the evil, we must honestly add, has arisen from a corrupt state of Parliament. Take only, as an illustration, the distribution of patronage. On whom have government livings and posts of ecclesiastical dignity and emolument been currently bestowed? Not by any means of necessity on the worthiest candidates, but on those who possessed the strongest parliamentary interest. It is true that many excellent men have been thus promoted, but their excellence was not their direct claim; professional decency of character might usually be requisite, for the sake of public opinion, but beyond that nothing was required: it was not asked whether the individual was really a man of God; one who had determined to know nothing among men but Jesus Christ and him crucified, and to spend and be spent for the souls of his people. Pluralities and non-residence, also, have been nourished by the corruptions of Parliament; for a legislature honestly anxious for the public welfare (even supposing its members not religious) would not have allowed, for the sake of cumulating preferments, that wretched system, which degrades and disgraces the Church. But the venal interest that made and kept Parliament corrupt found one of its richest returns in Church patronage; for it was hard indeed if a man who could oblige Government could not provide for a clerical friend beyond the worth of a single benefice incumbered with residence. These abuses have well-nigh ruined the Church in popular estimation; and one such instance as that which has been retailed for the last few weeks,of the rapacity of the Bishop of Ely (we see not why we should not allude to the name, as it has been before Parliament), does more to injure the Church in the public feeling as an engine of spiritual utility, and to

prepare the way for the confiscation of its temporal revenues, than the worst Parliamentary Reform Bill that its greatest enemy could devise.

Our view, then, is, that under a Reformed Parliament the administration of our national ecclesiastical establishment will undergo a severe ordeal; but that the issue will be, if the clergy are faithful to their high trust, to make it more popular, more spiritual, and more useful. It may come to be less looked to as a sinecure provision for young men who have no taste for its duties; but we think too highly of the claims of our Church, and its powerful hold upon the best affections of the country, to fear that a Parliament chosen by the large majority of respectable housekeepers would wish for more than its rectification, or would plot its extinction. If it did, it would be the clergy themselves who were chiefly to blame; for wherever there is a pious, zealous, and affectionate pastor, the Church, we are persuaded, is in no danger: rather do the people wish to build new churches and provide for additional ministers where wanted; and they are greatly alienated from the national communion by not being allowed to do so. The people ask to have a pious, active, resident, fairlypaid clergyman in every parish: but such a system would ruin the expectations of those who view the Church only as an instrument of lucre. Beyond this, we see no direct danger, except (and a fearful exception it is!) what springs from the temper of the times, whatever may be the system of Government or Parliament; and from the effect of those abuses in the Church which have alienated many of the people, and rendered them open to the arts of political declaimers and interested impugners of tithes. But this danger would be increased, not lessened, by a continuance, instead of a correction, of the existing evils; and, to speak the plain truth, we should less dread open opposition than the interested support which views religion only as an instrument of temporal advantage. If you do away with the Borough-influence system, it is said, and give large bodies of the public a voice, you will ruin the Church; for it stands by private influence. Its clerical and impropriated tithes being bound up together, the efforts of those who hold the latter are exerted in favour of the former; and the better payment the Church can offer by sinecures and cumulation for the exertion of political power, the more sure is it to retain that power in its favour. In all this not one word is said of religion; of the unbought affections of the public; of that power which the Church ought to possess, as a spiritual blessing to the country; and this is, in our view, a far stronger safeguard than that interested support which thinks

« السابقةمتابعة »