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THE CLAIMS OF THE CONTINENT OF EUROPE, AND PARTICULARLY
FRANCE, UPON CHRISTIANS IN GREAT BRITAIN.
To the Editor of the Evangelical Magazine.
DEAR SIR,—The resolution of the North negative. In the town of M- I enRiding Association respecting the spiritual tered, with the same inquiry, many of the claims of the Continent on British Chris. most respectable shops. Only one indivitians, which appeared in your September dual among their occupiers was the owner fumber, afforded me sincere satisfaction. of a New Testament. One gentleman, With the hope of augmenting the feelings who, during a week, dined with me at my which dictated it, and of exciting similar inn, and who avowed himself a deist and emotions in the minds of others, I entreat a materialist, said that he had not seen a your insertion of the present letter. In Testament for many years. Indeed, I it I have no intention of taking that com- doubted whether he had ever read it; for, prehensive view of the moral statistics of on my presenting one to him, he asked if Europe which may with facility be gained it contained an account of the creation. from the correspondence of the Bible, A journeyman bookbinder, having exTract, and Continental, Societies. My pressed a wish to obtain this precious objects are-to bear a simple and con- book, remarked, on receiving it, in perfect densed testimony to the spiritual wretch- ignorance of its divine authority, that he edness of some maritime districts of Pi- dared to say it was “a very fine work.” cardy and Normandy, which may serve as A student in a university, about twenty tolerable, though, I fear, inadequate, spe- years of age, told me that, although he eimens of more distant and less enlight- had seen the Vulgate (Latin) version of ened portions of France, and to suggest the Testament, he had never met with it such modes of exertion, for the benefit of in a French translation. A young woman, that country, as may be practicable by who professed to have a Bible, produced, many of your readers. I spent a few instead of it, a Catholic Abridgment of weeks, during the last summer, in the the Scriptures, garbled in many important provinces to which I have referred, and portions, and interlarded with the commy brief observation has deeply impressed ments of the fathers. on my mind the following truths May As to the public worship of God, the it please the Spirit of Christ to convey case is equally deplorable. In two large them, in all their practical obligation, to towns, amid a population of 25,000, ! numerous hearts !
found no Protestant sanctuary. In a third 1. An awful destitution of scriptural town, containing about 7000 inhabitants, information exists in France. The noto- there was an English episcopal chapel for rious faet, that the great majority of its the British residents, but no French Propopulation is divided into Roman Catho- testant service.' At a fourth, in which lics and Deists, may be received as a suf- there was a Protestant church, the minisficient proof of this statement. And, ter, who supplied four other places, preachwhen it is considered that, among the ed one Sabbath in five weeks. Protestants, who ought to be “the salt” And what is the result of this “ famine of the land, Socinian sentiments are of the words of the Lord ?” Let the truth dreadfully prevalent, and that a large be admitted, that the religion and the number of their ministers are worldly morality of a people bear a close propormen, frequenting, as a pious lady assured tion to their observance or neglect of the me, “ the chace, the dance, and the bil. Sabbath; and then, let the aspect of a liard-table,” this want of scriptural know- French Sunday furnish a reply. Oh! ledge assumes a more hopeless aspect. could every pious reader of this letter be But, to specify a few facts in connexion awakened, on the morning of that sacred with the sphere of my own observation. day, as I have been, by the clang of the On the road to M-, on a market-day, I anvil, and, on his entrance into the streets stopped about a dozen persons, some poor, and markets, observe business prosecuted others of the better classes, and, showing or suspended according to the tastes of the them the New Testament, begged them tradesmen ;-could he mark the workmen, to inform me if they possessed it. With on seasons of religious festival, erecting a single exception, they all replied in the the triumphal arch on the Sabbath moraing, and removing it on the Sabbath even- Tract Society, and kindred institutions, ing ;--and notice the labourers, at their are availing themselves. Individuals, option, toiling all day on the public works; too, who wish personally to disseminate could he see the card-party in the hotel
, scriptural knowledge, will find an abunand the nine-pins before every public- dant supply of tracts, admirably adapted house, and the promenaders swarming in to the mixed condition of superstitious all the suburbs;—could he be compelled and infidel France, at the depository of to witness, on one Sunday, a grand review the Paris Society, No. 6, Rue de l'Oraof a garrison, and, on another, be dis- toire. There also they may furnish themturbed by the music of a company of selves with French translations of works strolling players ;-and, could he find, which have often instructed and charmed amidst all this profanation, as I have them in their English garb. Among them found, no temple to which to retreat, save are Bogue's Essay, Keith on the Prophethe barren cliff, or the ocean cave,-surely cies, Bunyan's Pilgrim, Doddridge's Rise he would feel and proclaim the truth, and Progress, Burder's Village Sermons, This “people is destroyed for lack of Father
Clement, and similar publications. knowledge. But, glance at the brighter And, if any are disposed to inquire, wheside of the picture.
ther such books will be accepted by the 2. Numerous facilities exist, in this un- population generally, I offer them my happy land, for the circulation of correct unhesitating testimony, that, while a few sentiments. The revolution that has recently will reject them, and a few others will occurred in France has effected a decided threaten to burn them, nineteen-twenremoval of the obstructions which, during tieths of the inhabitants of France will the reign of the exiled family, cramped receive them with acquiescence, with grathe progress of religious truth. The titude, or with eagerness. Hence it is ascendancy of the priests appears annihi- evident, that, lated. They are not now the springs of 3. Private individuals may be efficiently the movements of the police, but, as con- employed, in that country, in the dissemicealed Carlists, the objects of its suspi- nation of evangelical principles. The cion. And, as to the fear that the civic reign of monopolies, I trust, Mr. Editor, authorities will interfere to prevent the is passing away; nor is there any monocirculation of religious sentiments, my poly the destruction of which will more own experience will furnish a sufficient effectually advance the cause of religion antidote. I was passing, one day, through than that which private Christians have the streets of G- leaving tracts at been too willing to confer on the profesevery house. Here I was accosted by the sional heralds of salvation. This abanCommissary of Police with the inquiry, donment of direct efforts for the diffusion “ What books are these?” I said they of truth to public religious characters is were religious tracts, and offered him å so common, that I anticipate the objecfew to inspect. He looked at them, and, tion, "We are not ministers; we cannot observing that he would give them away, go to France and preach the Gospel.” politely touched his hat, and left me to Be it so; but forget not that the Scrippursue my course without molestation.
tures presume, even under the old econoIn short, considering the present state of my, that individual believers were “teachpublic sentiment in France, I am con- ing every man his neighbour,” and that vinced that, as soon as the authorities the New Testament does not exempt even perceive that no political object is sought the weaker sex from the toils of evangeby the distribution of scriptural publica- lization:“ those women,” says Paul, tions, issuing from the Paris press, he will “ who laboured with me in the Gospel." experience no opposition to his most com- Be it so; but, if you cannot preach in prehensive efforts.
French, go and talk in French, and let From these circumstances, although those youthful days which you consumed springing from perfect indifference to- in gaining the rudiments of that language wards real piety, results the facility with answer some nobler purpose than the diswhich Protestant preaching, the sale and play of a fashionable accomplishment. distribution of the Scriptures, and the And, if you still object, “ Our knowledge general diffusion of truth, may now be of French would not permit us to converse prosecuted in France-a facility of which with freedom on religious topics,” recollect the Protestant Bible Society, the British that you may distribute tracts although and Foreign Bible Society (under the you could not converse, and that a dozen agency of Professor Kieffer), the Paris phrases would be sufficient to introduce
thousands of books to tens of thousands and evangelize.” Oh, my countrymen! of immortal souls. In brief, the writer how shall we meet, at his tribunal, milof this letter visited France as a private lions of our neighbours, whom a little individual; his knowledge of the conver- self-denial on our part might have saved, sational language was of the most limited uninstructed, unpardoned, and therefore kind; and yet, he found it very easy to for ever lost! I beseech you, then, if you circulate as many books as his pecuniary possibly can, make France the land of means and his physical strength allowed. your residence. If this is not practicaI have climbed, Mr. Editor, with my tracts ble, make it the land of your temporary (and here let my incognito apologize for abode. Visit its shores, with a heart of my egotism), I have climbed the lofty love and a hand of liberality, and leave a French staircase, from the shop on the blessing there. Nor doubt the sincerity of ground-floor to the genteel apartments of this appeal because it is penned in Engthe first story, and thence, through the land; but be assured that progressive progressively humble gradations of soci- disease alone has compelled the writer to ety, to the poor solitary widow in the exchange the delightful duty of transattic; I have distributed pamphlets from mitting the bread of life to perishing imdoor to door, in the most public streets of mortals, for the less laborious, but less French towns, with no other difficulty fascinating, employment of attempting to than that of resisting the importunity of arouse the energies of others. If, howa crowd eager to obtain “ the English- ever, your personal or relative circumman's books.” I have taken my station on stances are such as, at the day of final the high-road, on a market-day, andaccount, will fully justify you in having stopping every passenger, whether mount- delegated the work of direct evangelizaed on the donkey or the hunter, whether tion to others, you will at least receive conveyed in the cart, the diligence, the with cordiality my final remark, that, cabriolet, or the phaeton, have found, 4. To the instruction of France property among all classes, willing and inquisitive may be most advantageously dedicated. or recipients. And thus, with a little cour- the Tract Society of Paris I have spoken; tesy, and a very little French, I have and its adaptation to the present state of easily circulated from three to four France must be obvious: and yet, I have hundred tracts in a single morning. To the testimony of one of its most efficient British Christians, therefore, especially to supporters, that its funds are very inadethose who possess an independent compe- quate to the sphere of its operations. tency and tolerable health, and to those And will you, the stewards of wealth, perwhose youthful bosoms are heaving with mit its efforts to languish? Calculate a the desire of missionary enterprise, I moment :-Four francs (three shillings would most earnestly say, Think of the and fourpence) will purchase a hundred claims of France; and, with its claims, tracts, of various sizes; one pound, conconnect the facilities with which your ob- sequently, will send forth six hundred of ligations to seek its welfare may be dis- these little heralds of mercy-ten pounds, charged. Here is a country almost as des- six thousand. Let your contributions, then, titute of vital Christianity as India itself. this very week, be forwarded to the deposiFrom its shores, in all probability, the gos- tory of the Religious Tract Society, 56, Papel reached Britain. It is nearer to many ternoster Row, in aid of its sister institution of you than numerous districts of your own in the metropolis of France. And, while country. It is not a land of savages, but of you deliberate on their amount, recollect highly civilized men. Its climate is not that religious publications scattered in that the grave of its population, but
generally country will fall into the hands of multisalubrious, and, in many cases of incipient tudes not familiar, as the great mass of disease, highly restorative. And, as if to society in England, with evangelical senshame your sinful love of domestic ease, timents, but nurtured amid Deism, Matethousands of your countrymen, prompted rialism, Popery, and torpid Protestantism. by degrading, or, at least, inferior motives, To many of these the tract and its sentihave selected it as their residence. Now, ments will be equal novelties, and will be too, is the season of peace and of free- introduced by them, as subjects of intedom; and who shall say how soon tran- rest, to circles as little instructed as themquillity may be interrupted, or freedom selves. And among these, in accordance curtailed ? Surely these are motives suf- with the divine promises, may you not ficient to enforce the much-neglected confidently anticipate some genuine concommand of our ascending Lord," Go, versions ? Now, contemplating the paucity of real Christians in the country for which globe. Angels will watch the increase I plead, and the probable activity to which of this consecrated seed; and, though you new converts will be stimulated by the sow but “a handful,” their reports shall moral degradation of their social con- bear to heaven the tidings of a harvest Dexions, I do not advance an unfounded that "shall shake like Lebanon.” “ But sentiment, when I suggest that one con- this I say, He that soweth sparingly shall version in France will produce more im- reap also sparingly, and he that soweth portant religious results than ten in Bri-, bountifully shall reap also bountifully."
tain. The young disciple will become, in I have thus, Mr. Editor, borne a testi• numerous instances, an active Christian. mony which conscience would not permit
Your money, transmuted to truth, will me to withhold, through your pages, to prove the germ, from which will spring, the Christian world. May your readers, in France, Sabbath-school teachers, itine in their individual and their collective rants, pastors, missionaries. These will capacities, lay it to heart! May personal become the centres of benevolent and dedication and united effort prove that the Christian institutions, all destined to be love and zeal of the primitive churches the instruments of spiritual renovations; are not yet extinct! and thus will the knowledge of God be
Yours, dear Sir, diffused, with ever-accelerating rapidity,
With Christian affection, through France, the continent, and the Oct. 30, 1832.
ANSWER TO AN INQUIRY ON ELECTION.
(To the Editor of the Evangelical Magazine.) MR. EDITOR,-An Inquirer after Truth election; for texts of Scripture are, to a has put to you a question which has been divine, what experiments or well-known answered many times by well-known phenomena are to a natural philosopher, writers. But, as it is not the privilege of who forms his system by a deduction from every one to have a theological library, or all the facts which nature presents. to have leisure for much reading, your We should, however, take not merely miscellany affords inquirers a happy op- those texts which contain the word elecportunity of seeking information. It might tion, but those also which employ the have occurred to your correspondent, that term elect; and should first examine such the ordinary statement of the doctrine of passages as treat the subject more fully, election was intended to intimate that his and then those which make more incisystem had been examined and rejected; dental mention of it. For, if we wish to for that it is not new I suppose he is well know the mind of the Spirit on any subaware. It has, indeed, been often pro-ject, we should pay special attention to posed, weighed in the balances of the those parts of Scripture which were given sanctuary, and found wanting.
to teach us that particular doctrine. In the first place, it is directly contrary Now, there are two places in the New to Scripture." Your correspondent will Testament which give fuller information acknowledge that this, if it can be proved, on election than any other. The first is is enough to seal the fate of bis hypothesis. Rom. ix. 11-16. “For the children beElection is a doctrine of revelation. Some ing not yet born, neither having done mere philosophical metaphysicians have, any good or evil, that the purpose of God, indeed, adopted a species of election as according to election, might stand, not of demanded by reason; but it is not on that works, but of him that calleth ; it was ground that Christians rest the doctrine. said unto her, The elder shall serve the They bow to the declaration, “ Thus saith younger: as it is written, Jacob have I the Lord.” Their definition of the doc- loved, but Esau have I hated. What shall trine, therefore, is made up of texts of we say then? Is there unrighteousness Scripture.
with God? God forbid. For he saith to The only safe way to reach a conclusion Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will on this subject is to examine a'l the pas- have mercy, and I will have compassion sages of the divine word which treat of on whom I will have compassion. So
then it is not of him that willeth, nor of he hath chosen us in him before the founhim that runneth, but of God that show- dation of the world, that we should be etb mercy.”
holy, and without blame before him in It will scarcely be pretended that Paul love: having predestinated us unto the teaches here an election founded on the adoption of children by Jesus Christ, to foresight of good conduct, or good works. himself, according to the good pleasure of On the contrary, he anticipates the very his will, to the praise of the glory of his objection of your inquirer, and asks, grace, wherein he hath made us accepted “What shall we say then? Is there un- in the Beloved : in whom we have rerighteousness with God? God forbid.” demption through his blood, the forgiveBut how does he obviate the objection? ness of sins, according to the riches of his By saying that Jacob would improve his grace; wherein he hath abounded toward opportunity, and Esau would not? No: us in all wisdom and prudence; having Paul gives no such defence of the con- made known unto us the mystery of his dact of God, though that would have will, according to his good pleasure which been the natural and obvious, and almost he had purposed in himself: that in the necessary, reply, if the apostle had had in
dispensation of the fulness of times he his mind the theory which your inquirer might gather together in one all things in proposes. But Paul's answer is founded Christ, both which are in heaven and on the opposite view of election, that it is which are on earth: even in him, in whom of mere grace or mercy, without any re- also we have obtained an inheritance, begard to desert: “ For he saith to Moses, ing predestinated according to the purpose I will have mercy on whom I will have of him who worketh all things after the mercy. So then it is not of him that counsel of his own will; that we should willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of be to the praise of his glory, who first God that showeth mercy.” In the same trusted in Christ.” manner he goes on to reply more fully, Here it will be seen that the moral ex5. 19-24. "Thou wilt say then unto me, cellence of Christians is the effect of elecWhy doth he yet find fauli? for who hath tion, and therefore not its cause : they are resisted his will ? Nay but, О man, who chosen that they should be holy and with. art thou that repliest against God? Shall out blame, and therefore not chosen bethe thing formed say to him that formed cause they would of themselves be holy it, Why hast thou made me thus? Hath and blameless, without election. Can any not the potter power over the clay, of the sensible and candid man suppose that the same lamp to make one vessel unto ho- apostle had in his view, when he penned nour and another unto dishonour? What these words, such an idea of election as if God, willing to show his wrath, and to your inquirer contends for ?
Has not make his power known, endured with Paul expressed the opposite doctrine, that much long-suffering, the vessels of wrath election is the cause why we improve our fitted to destruction; and that he might opportunities and become holy ? make known the riches of his glory on Again, the apostle says that God “prethe vessels of mercy, which he had afore destinated us to the adoption of children, prepared unto glory, even us, whom he according to the good pleasure of his will, hath called, not of the Jews only, but also to the praise of the glory of his grace, of the Gentiles?”
wherein he made us accepted in the BeThis is the place where the doctrine is loved.” Here every word is opposed to an most largely taught; and, if this passage election founded on the foresight of the is to decide the dispute, it will do so by good conduct of men; for the apostolic condemning, the notion of an election election is “according to the good pleafounded on the foresight of superior moral ture of his will,” which accords with what worth in the elect, and by establishing the Assembly's Catechism says, that the election of sovereign grace.
“ God, out of his mere good pleasure, But it may justly be demanded, that chose some to everlasting life," while the we should defer our final verdict till we Arminian election says, that it was from have examined the other principal witness the foresight of our good conduct. in this cause. The next passage, then, in But what Paul says of the end which which this doctrine is most fully discussed, God designed to accomplish in this affair is Eph. i. 3—12. “Blessed be the God needs special notice ; for the end gives a and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who character to any course of procedure. hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings Now, the end for which God chose us to in heavenly places in Christ: according as be holy, and predestinated us to the adop