Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB
[blocks in formation]

ing heart and feeling into it. There is a bounty on every measure of humility, every measure of prayerfulness, every measure of trust in God, upon all those graces to be cultivated by us. And to be repaid, to whom? To the poor perishing immortals whom we teach. And to be repaid where ? On the death-bed, at the day of judgment, and in eternity.”

Rev. J. SHERMAN.-"I cordially approve of what the committee have done with Jespect to these Bibles. I rejoice that they have brought the subject directly before the minds of the teachers, and I hope every teacher who can afford it will avail himself of the precious boon of a Bible for himself, and that they will be in the habit of especially recommending to the children each to have his own Bible. I am sure it is infinitely better than having a large number in our schools used as class books. Children are apt to disesteem them, simply because they are class-books. If we cannot have them by other means, let us have them so; the precious Word of God will doubtless take root in the heart ; but there is nothing like having a Bible of our own. The Bible of my childhood is my Bible still; there is no Bible like it. I turn to its pages, the old marks remain, and it reminds me of promises; and the peculiar strokes which were put there remind me of certain duties, and omissions, and of comforts which I received in times of need and of distress. It

is my earnest desire, therefore, that all teachers will avail themselves of this opE-portunity which Providence has thrown in their way to furnish themselves and the

children with the precious truths of the Gospel.'

7. RELIGIOUS TRACT SOCIETY. Rev. T. ARCHER." This Society gives much honour to the Word of God. The two great heresies of our day are Puseyism and Owenism. It is singular to observe how extremes meet. These two heresies treat the Word of God precisely in the same way, Says Puseyism, Hear the church; listen to its traditions; study the works of the fathers.' But where are their appeals to the Bible ? Says Owenism,

Hear reason, and leave the old wives' fables of revelation entirely in the back ground.' Who could have expected that two classes of men, so diametrically opposite on other points, should have treated that sacred book in precisely the same way? I admit that their motives are different; but the result, in both cases, is the same. Now this Society meets both these classes of errors, and exalts the truth of Revelation against them both. I love this Society, because it has distributed up: wards of 300 millions of tracts, each one of which contains the germ of eternal truth, and some part of that Word, in its living, saving power."

8. LONDON SOCIETY FOR PROMOTING CHRISTIANITY AMONGST THE JEWS. Rev. T. S. GRIMSHAWE..-"A general opinion had prevailed in Smyrna, Constantinople, Egypt, Syria, Palestine, and various islands of the Levant, that the Messiah would appear in Jerusalem in the year 1840; and this expectation prevailed without any particular communication having taken place between those who entertained it. The universality of the impression seemed to him to be the precursor of some great event. At all events many of the Jews in the East spoke ihus upon the subject:- If Messiah should not come in the year 1840, He must already have come in the person of Jesus of Nazareth; and I am prepared, having so strong a leaning in my mind to that notion, to receive the rite of baptism from your liands, and to acknowledge Jesus as the promised Messiah.' In Smyrna and Constantinople were many Jews who were convinced of the truth of Christianity, but whose fears prevented them from making that public confession which was so desirable. One Jewish Rabbi said to him, “Sir, when you go back to your own country, endeavour to draw attention to one grand point, the necessity of procuring protection to Jews inquiring after Christianity. At the present moment we cannot enter the house of a missionary, we cannot read the New Testament, we cannot whisper the name of Jesus, but bonds and imprisonment await us. We look to your country as the land of liberty, of liberty dignified by the hallowed privileges of Christianity. We know you have not only liberty in your persons and property, but you hare that which we want most, liberty of conscience. There is no barrier between God and your conscience ; allow us to participate in the same privilege. Secure protection for us.' The same Rabbi told him, that there were not merely hundreds but thousands of Jews ready to profess Christianity, could they be protected from persecution. At Alexandria he met that eminent servant of God, Dr. Duff, and considering the subject of the emigration of the Jews from all quarters, as it was reported, into Jerusalem, and how important it was, if the Jews believed that the time of their restoration was drawing nigh, to ascertain the sentiments of Mehemet Ali upon that subject, through Colonel Campbell, the Consul-General, he and Dr. Duff obtained an interview with that remarkable man, the medium of communication being the French language, in which he (Mr. Grimshawe) spoke, the Dragoman acting as interpreter. Referring to the desire said to exist amongst the Jews to return to the Holy Land, he first said, ' Allow me to state to your Highness, that I should think it extremely imprudent for me to discuss the merits of such an expectation or the grounds upon which it is founded. I merely take it as a matter of fact, and presuming your Highness is exercising supreme authority over Palestine at this moment, and you were aware that many Jews had returned, and that the anticipations of this illustrious people were confirmed, may I venture to ask what the sentiments of your Highness are, and whether you will feel it your duty to interpose obstacles in the way of their return, so far as Egypt will be one particular scene of their return ; and if you will afford such facilities as may lie in your power ? His answer was, “I think that gentleman has very wisely abstained from speculating upon that subject which he has now brought forward. He takes it as a matter of fact, and as a matter of fact alone I wish to consider it. Is the inquiry, whether I will throw obstacles in the way of their return, should that take place, or offer facilities for it? They are welcome to return. I will throw no obstacle whatever in their way. I will rather throw every facility in their way. I will grant them full protection, both to person and property. The next question was, “As many of the Jews were known to be in a state of great destitution, whether he would allow them allotments of land in Palestine imposing a proper rent as a recompense to himself, and secure to them the fruits of their own industry?' His answer was, I have no land in Palestine that I can appropriate to such a purpose. I have a supreme right over all—but I have an individual right to no part. The land belongs to whom it belongs. But I beg leave to make this reply, that if those who are proprietors are willing to sell, and the Jews are willing to buy, I will guarantee the faith of such a covenant, and secure them in all the rights of their purchase.' A person who had been sent to learn engineering at Glasgow by Mehemet Ali, had apostatised from the Mahomedan faith, and became, through conviction and conversion, a Christian. He was taken before the Pasha, who was called upon to pass sentence of death upon him for his apostacy, according to the Mahomedan law. But upon examining the young man, who declared that he had not turned Christian for interest, but that, on the contrary, he knew he was placing his life in peril, and was ready to meet death rather than deny his faith in Christ, Mehemet Ali commended bis sincerity and fortitude, and set him free. These facts showed the altered disposition of Mahomedan rulers in favour of the Jews, and also of the Christians. Sir C. Smith, on having some honour conferred on him by a Mahomedan ruler, was thus addressed :— To Sir C. Smith, one of the illustrious followers of the Messiah.' There never was an instance before this, of Christ being called the Messiah by a Mahomedan. In going on board some of the ships belonging to the Turkish fleet the greatest courtesy and respect were paid to the party, of which he was one, whereas, formerly, as Captain Ford said, no Christian could venture on board a Mahomedan ship without being insulted, and elbowed, and having your toes trodden on, and being called · Infidel dog' by every one who saw you. This altered state of feeling augured well for the progress of the work in the East.”

9. RELIGIOUS FREEDOM SOCIETY. Rev. Dr. Campbell.-“Moral power must be created. He entertained a very limited estimate of coarse clamour, or of vulgar violence. He could not say that

[blocks in formation]

he thought very highly of individual immolation. It was very true that he might respect the feelings and consciences of men, who deemed it a duty to submit to imprisonment. He might sympathise with the operator, although he might not altogether approve of the mode of operation ; but these were not the things they especially required. There was the case of Mr. John Thorogood. A great deal of syur pathy had been called forth towards him. Another case was that of Mr. Baines, of Leicester, a very respectable man ; but his case had not called forth an equal degree of sympathy to that which was evinced in Mr. Thorogood's case. If there should be other victims, he believed still less sympathy would be shown. The fact was, tbat in personal sacrifices, like miracles, as you increase their number you decrease their value. The great object they had in view was only to be wrought out by concentrated, judicious, and persevering efforts.”

Rev. John Burnet." How stands the question with the Government? We are willing to do something; but what are they doing out of doors ?' Look at the Church-rate question as it was introduced before. They may say, "We were not supported; we nearly risked our places by the length to which we carried it.' Why did you not risk your places altogether! Oh, we were not strong enough to carry the measure. If I were not strong enough to govern, I would not govern. I have no idea that a man should say his arms are palsied, and yet hold the reins of such a fiery steed as the population of the nineteenth century. Let him act on his stateinent, and then we shall see who will take the reins. If they say, “We can: not do any thing for you without putting ourselves in peril,' I do think that the reins ought to be laid down. I would not keep a coachman who was too weak to drive properly. But if we are really to expect that religious freedom should make its way, we must endeavour to acquire just views of religion itself. What is religion? It is man's intercourse with God. And who has the regulation, and who ought to have the regulation of that intercourse ? Shall the courts of earth step in between man and the Majesty of heaven, and lay down rules for the fellowship of the creature with the Creator? Shall any one say there is justice in taking such a course as this ? Shall any man say that he has a right to inflict the penalties that may arise out of conducting this intercourse between man and his Creator? Does not the Creator retain the penalties in his own hands? If they would ask us to go back to the dark ages, they must take the ground they now take, that is, that religious freedom is not every man's right; that religious toleration is a compliment that may be granted by the majority to the minority ; but even toleration is pot every man's right. Bnt if they take this ground, let them carry it to the uttermost. If I were a churchman, and held the principle, that religious freedom is not every man's right, that I was bound to give religion to the whole people, I would use the strong arm of power, and bring back the Inquisition. I could not say, The majesty of heaven has laid on me the onerous duty of leading you in the right way of religion, but, not abusing the authority He has given me, I bave waved the obligation. He has devolved upon me, I granted you toleration. I dare not so act. I would therefore, in conclusion, commit the whole question to you and to this meeting; and I would beg the worthy members of the Church of England, who take upon themselves to act the dictators in this high concern, to reflect that they are only stirring up the ill blood of the community. Is it right, that the government from year to year should permit a state of things to exist, which embroils parishes and iinprisons good men-violates the sacredness of the fireside-separates between the father and the child, the husband and the wife? Is it right, that this state of things should go on upon the old plea, that because the Crown is the head of the State, it must be the head of the Church also ? What does the State gain by this connection ? Look at the trammels with which it is fastened in consequence of it. Look at the Church question, coming in on all occasions and on all hands, and then let me ask, what they gain by thus voluntarily taking upon them the service of the church, and insisting upon a general submission to its sweeping dictates ?”

10. CHURCH PASTORAL-AID Society. Rev. Hugh M`Neile.-" The assertion, that Church extension by the authority

of state influence is persecution for conscience' sake, has been examined and refuted. The essential difference between compulsory payment and compulsory worship, has been made more popularly intelligible ; the absurdity of saying, that every man who is required to pay tribute must approve of every object to which it is applied, so that if any part is avowedly applied to an object he disapproves, he is thereupon to withold payment, has been demonstrated and shown io be a baneful principle, subversive of all government, fatal alike to the independence and respongibility of the Legislature, as it is to the prerogative and executive branches of the Government. But a difficulty still remains in a difference of opinion, to be found amongst our fellow-countrymen and among their representatives in Parliament. But this difference would not on this, any more than on any other subject, hinder some efficient measure being adopted, if Hon Gentlemen, and Right Hon. Gentlemen would only be decided. We ask a supply—and adequate supply-for the spiritual instruction of the people. We ask it in the extension of the instruction of the Established Church; and we urge this by saying, that in our opinion this is in accordance with the Word of God. Now if the Legislature say to us in reply, 'That is your opinion; but multitudes of your fellow-subjects think otherwise ; they say it is not in accordance with the Word of God; who is to decide between you ?”'_our answer is, You are providentially placed in a condition and station of influence for the good of the country, in which it becomes imperative upon you to decide inany questions concerning which the population are divided ; your competence to decide is one part of your qualification as a senator. Decision is your practice, we say, or other subjects, although on other subjects the population are divided. You study the science of political economy, and you take upon you to decide on the matter of the Corn-laws. You study the great and complicated affairs of our colonial union, and you decide upon questions involving powers and and privileges of local Legislatures and of the Imperial Parliament. On all things you decide, and it is right you should; and to you we say without offence, rather I should say for the honour and independence of representatives of our great nation in a Government like ours, that the Hon, or Right Hon. Gentleman who finds that he cannot make up his mind, from whatever cause, and however conscientious, I humbly think he ought to give up his seat. We claim decision at the hands of the Legislature ; and if they say to us, “Well, the only way in which we can decide is by a majority, and are you willing to have the subject of church extension by the State hazarded upon a majority in the House of Commons ?'--my Lord, I think our answer is, Whether we are willing or not it is your duty to decide. Better decision against us, thau an indecision which breaks down the distinction between right and wrong, leaving no plain and clear arena whereon to define the boundaries of Christ and Antichrist. Better decide against the Church, and let the Legislature by a majority place us in the position of an infidel country, as under old Pagan Rome better this than having gentlemen professing one thing out of the House and another thing in the House-gentlemen professing their attachment to the Church of England at the hustings, and then giving their votes for grants to the Church of Rome. We like honesty. We dislike a man, not because of his opinions, but because he does not act up to them. By not deciding at all, you dishonour God; by supporting opposing systems you stultify your own enactments. I say, England has decided. Our Legislature does not come to a new question on this subject; they come to a question which was decided by our forefathers ; England has decided by a prodigious majority in favour of an Established Church, and if England were polled to-morrow, England would decide again in favour of an Established Church. If this question were made plain and palpable in the present Legislature, if Parliament were decided upon it, if there were no more shuffling, no more pretence, but if every man spoke out—if those on the one side said, “We are opposed to an Established Church, and we won't have it any more, or 'we won't extend it to meet the wants of the people, and if those on the other side said, “An Established Church must be had,' if men on both sides were honest, and Parliament were dissolved, we should have such a House of Commons as would extend the Established Church through the length and the breadth of the land, so as entirely to meet the wants of the people.”

[blocks in formation]

11. IRISH EVANGELICAL SOCIETY. Rev. J. Young.-"The main difficulties with which you have to contend, if I mistake not, arise from this very cause ; the country is already possessed and pre-occupied by two spurious-I may be allowed, perhaps, to call them so-two spurious forms of that very religion which you seek to introduce-on the one hand Popery, and on the other the Protestant Church of Ireland. Popery associated with the power, and recommended by all the graces of the Voluntary principle; and Protestantism, blighted and blasted by its association with the tithe system. I do heartily rejoice that there are in the Irish Church not a few true-hearted, noble-minded, pious, devoted men, burning with love to Christ, and indefatigable in their labours to do good; but to me it appears it is vain to expect extensive benefit through the instrumentality of that Church. It has too long been all but unmixed evil to become the minister of great or general good. It bas lost its character too long in the minds of the people, for any course which it may pursue, in my opinion, to redeem it. Perhaps I speak in strong language, but I do state the convictions of my own mind when I say, that one of the great obstructions to the introduction and diffusion of Protestant Christianity in Ireland has been and is the Irish Church. That Church is the symbol of Protestantism to the mass of the people ; they think of it only as identified with that Church; and how can they ever look with favour upon it when it has robbed and spoiled them, when it has ground them to the earth, and when its strongest arguments have been the tithe-proctor and the prison ? People are furnished with an answer to every Protestant advocate that may approach them--to every argument he can advance. They reason--and 50 far they reason well-that that religion cannot be good which has been associated with injustice, with rapacity, with cruelty, and almost with blood. I think from the tone of the Report, as well as the introductory speech that has been made, that you are of opinion that the time has come when you must speak out. The time has come, whatever may be said of mild and noiseless procedure in this country, when it would be infatuation, as it appears to me-when it would be suicidal, to be silent. In the present circumstances of Ireland we must tell the Irish people that the Protestantism which we seek to advance is not connected with tithes, with fines, with civil penalties. We must disablise their minds; we must wrest from Popery the very strongest argument which it has hitherto had. We must show to the people of Ireland that we agree with them in this great principle. We must give them the truth, the truth of the Gospel, a fair field and no favour."

Rev. E. H. NOLAN.-" The alien speech of Lyndhurst, and the alien spirit of Stanley, still goaded, and lashed, and maddened the heart of Ireland. They felt that there was a large party in England possessing power enough to oppress them, and not possessing pride enough to forbear to insult the men whom they oppressed. He (Mr. N.) sympathised with this sense of injury. Although the pastor of an English flock, and the husband of an English wife, he had not forgotten his nationality ; and as he had often done, so was he ready again to denounce the insidiousness and injustice, which left Ireland a sense of wrong to rankle within her, and form feelings inimical to that holy religion which made England the freest and the happiest nation upon earth. Closely allied to this, was the anti-national spirit of Irish Protestantism. The Catholics loved their country; but when they saw the columns of the Irish Tory press filled with vituperation when they met with this tone in stage coaches, in the market, in the social circle with Protestants, and even with Protestant Dissenters, the sense of injury was deepened, and they suspected the benevolence and justice of a religion which seemed to combine all its sects in a feeling ungenerous to their native land. There was not only the Orangeism of the Orange Establishment, but there was an endowed Orange dissent-aye, and an unendowed Orange dissent. And the worst, because the most gratuitous, and inconsistent, and unreasonable hue into which Orangeism ever deepened, was that of an unendowed Orange dissent. Those who conducted the Irish Evangelical Society had no fellowship with that spirit."

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

(We bave quoted this passage, for the purpose of protesting against it. The Irish Evangelical Society is formed, not to advance the Liberal cause and oppose the Conservative, but to combine Christians, whether Liberals or Conservatives, in spreading the Gospel in Ireland ; and it is unfair, to endeavour to give it such a partisan character, as shall exclude either party from supporting it

VOL. XIII,

2

L

« AnteriorContinuar »