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penal disabilities; we have been dejected at viewing the hostilities, so injurious to religion, which for years have rent the country,which have alienated friends and sown discord among brethren ;- but where should we stop if we went on to state all the evils which have arisen and were perpetuated by our penal statutes in Ireland? Can we then regret that something is at length to be done to allay these perturbations; and, above all, that a more free course is now likely to be opened for the promotion of the pure religion of the Gospel, for Scriptural education and Protestant instruction, in that distracted country? The Protestant clergy will now have no excuse for not endeavouring to benefit and enlighten their Catholic parishioners; nor will the latter have the same cause to be jealous of their interference. Our Education societies, Bible societies, and Reformation societies, we would hope, will stand on new and vantage ground. Worldly weapons have been tried long, and tried in vain: let us now come to our misguided fellow-subjects, not with sword and spear and shield,

but in the name of the Lord of Host s and with the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

In these opinions we may differ from many valued friends; but we have stated them honestly, and if we are wrong we are wrong upon principle and from conviction. We have no fears for the extension of Popery in our beloved country. That religion is as contrary to the spirit and temper of the age, as it is to the word of God. It has of late risen into publicity by an outcry-certainly in the main a very senseless one-of persecution; let it alone- or rather oppose to it the word of God, and it must fall to the ground.

Intelligence has arrived of the death of the Pope. We have no space for particulars.-Dr. James, the much respected Bishop of Calcutta, has followed Middleton and Heber as a victim to the labours and anxieties of a diocese that ought to be divided into four at the least. He is to be succeeded by a clergyman of exemplary piety and aptitude for the office, the Rev. T. M. Turner, Examining Chaplain to the Bishop of Chester.

ANSWERS TO CORRESPONDENTS.

D.; J. B. M.; Пisis; R. B. S.; and A. R. C.; will appear.

THEOPHILUS; THEOGNIS; HUMANITAS; E. P. R; ONE OF YOUR FIRST SUBSCRIBERS: Epopos; IRENEUS; N.; and E. M. B.; are under consideration.

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CLERICUS asks, "However apposite may be the language of Mr. Norris, quoted in your last Number, to other articles in the British Critic and Theological Review,' is it not inapplicable to that to which you allude, relative to the Anti-Slavery Society's Reporter?"-Clericus will be able to answer his own question, if we quote for him only one single remark of the British Critic, in which he entitles the "Reporter's " exposition relative to the Slave-Conversion Society, "impudent, stupid, and most disgraceful: " he had already called it "disgusting." The British Critic must rely upon his readers possessing more of an unflinching party-spirit, than of a love of candour or justice, before he can presume that such language as the above affords the best vehicle for conveying his arguments. But, whatever may be the language of the British Critic, the real friends of our Church Societies, connected with the West Indies, will feel that abuse is not argument; and that there are but two ways of settling the question,-either by disproving the charges, or by reforming the practice. Hard words are of no value in the matter.--Clericus does not appear to have seen the able and convincing reply to the British Critic, circulated with our Appendix, which his bookseller has perhaps failed to forward to him. If any other of our readers have not received their copies of the Appendix, we should be obliged to them to order them to complete their sets for the year. We may take the opportunity of stating, that some particular Numbers of our last volume having been in peculiar demand, our publisher can make up only a comparatively small number of complete copies, without re-printing those Numbers. Those subscribers, therefore, who have recently begun taking in the work, or who wish to commence with the last volume, so as to have the supplemental papers complete from the beginning, should order them immediately through their bookseller. With our Appendix is given a title-page for binding up the supplemental papers. Our subscribers might very easily extend the circulation of our work among their friends; and if they think it calculated to do good, we are sure they will feel it right to do so. We are sorry we cannot reply to at least half a score correspondents, who request the names of the treasurers, secretaries, or bankers of various religious and charitable societies. A letter addressed directly to the Secretary of these Societies, London, would find its way as correctly as one addressed to the Editor of the Christian Observer; and save us much unnecessary trouble. Where the inquirers have sent us their address, we have returned an answer by post; but it is not fair to our general

readers to encumber our pages with such details for private information. Several of these Societies insert occasional advertisements on our cover, to which the inquirers may refer.

T. J., after stating the same facts as DEFENSOR and N. L., p. 91, adds, that the anecdote of Mr. Robinson, mentioned by SP-N in our last Number, related to the hymn "Come, thou Fount of every blessing," which was his, and not to "Jesus, lover [refuge] of my soul," which was not.

A CONSTANT READER mistakes in saying that it has been our uniform practice to insert a preface to each volume. Had we, however, been aware that our prefaces were in, such good estimation, we should not perhaps have omitted one to our last volume; though what topics we had to urge we intended to introduce as occasion served in other places.

SUPPLEMENT TO RELIGIOUS INTELLIGENCE.

BRITISH AND FOREIGN BIBLE SOCIETY.

Among the interesting facts in this month's extracts, we notice with much pleasure the purchase of 300 Bibles, Testaments, and Biblical selections by the Portuguese emigrants at Plymouth; the circulation and intelligent perusal of English Bibles in the native schools of Madagascar; and the distribution by sale within the year of 4661 copies in the precincts of the Turkish empire itself.

ANTI-SLAVERY SOCIETY.

With much pain, yet with an imperative feeling of duty, we lay before our readers this month's Reporter, which relates chiefly to the slave estates of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel. We have ourselves urged the subject in vain for several years; it has now received a more full and public discussion, and must command the attention of the Society, of parliament, and of the country at large. We scruple not again to repeat our full conviction, that whether we consider the feelings of the British public, or the duties of the Society as a Christian and charitable institution, nothing short of making their labourers free villagers, working, not under the lash, or from fear of the stocks and imprisonment, but for just wages, will satisfy the exigencies of the case. So long as they are slave holders, their most benevolent intentions must continue to be frustrated, as they have been for nearly a century and a quarter. The scene is too distant for their supervision; nor can they make West-Indian agents think, feel, and act, as the Society do at home. We are prepared to return again and again to this afflicting subject.-But we are asked again and again, what can the Society do? The end to be attained is obvious enough. Look, for example, at our volume for 1823, p. 685. Many benevolent individuals have been honest in doing their duty, by breaking the yoke from off the necks of their slaves; and the result has corresponded to the intention, even at a time when the state of civilization among the slaves must have been much more backward than now in Barbadoes. In the small island of Antigua alone, 956 manumissions have taken place in six years. Has any inconvenience resulted to Antigua from the 956 manumissions? Or if the proportionate number of 2550 had been manumitted in Barbadoes, and the Society's slaves had been of that number, where would have been the possible evil? There are now in Barbadoes itself, about 5,000 free Blacks, or Persons of Colour; and in Trinidad, a neighbouring island, 18,000 such persons.--If the Society's 381 slaves formed a part of either of these bodies, where, we again ask, would be the evil or the inconvenience? It has been a greater sacrifice in many individuals to free half a dozen slaves, than it would be for this Society to manumit its 381. It is vain to talk of giving examples of progressive amelioration and emancipation. Such a society never can find agents for such a work. They have but one plain path to take, and one Christian example to give. All short of this is a compromise with conscience. And yet, even with this compromise, there are many things to be done, which they have not done or even attempted. Every child may in future be born free. The women may be delivered from the labour of tilling the ground like cattle. All the slaves may be encouraged to effect their own redemption, by having wages, instead of the whip to stimulate them, and time to labour for themselves but there is no end to such suggestions. If the Society are in earnest, they will find no difficulty in filling up the details.

REFORMATION SOCIETY.

We looked with some caution at the early proceedings of this Society; but it has honestly gained upon our confidence, and the present most interesting Number of the Quarterly Extracts proves its full claim to the zealous and confident suffrages of every friend of Religion and Protestantism. The Society has most wisely avoided political allusions; and we will follow their example in noticing its proceedings: yet we may be allowed to hope that the fears of some of its most excellent members are unfounded, and that new and unexpected facilities will be opened for its exertions and It has calmly urged its way amidst political heats: may it, in the mercy of God, find in future a soil better prepared for its holy labours!

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I

RELIGIOUS COMMUNICATIONS.

ESSAY ON SUPERSTITION.

(Continued from page 71.)

STATED in my last paper my belief that the various phenomena of superstition, and especially alleged supernatural appearances, depend upon a morbid condition of the brain, in consequence of which it has escaped the due controul of the presiding mind. In order to apply this proposition to the several forms of superstitious manifestation, it is necessary to describe the functions of the brain in a state of health and of disease.

I. The brain is a material organ, and is liable to be acted upon by many physical causes.

This is almost a self-evident proposition, since we see that it is possessed of extension, figure, solidity, and of a certain degree of invariable structural arrangement. It is true that we are unacquainted with the ultimate cerebral fibre, or with the reason why these fibres are assembled according to their present form; and it is also true, that we are unacquainted with the mode of their function: but we conclude, from very close analogy, that the brain is most perfectly adapted to its peculiarity of function, because we know that this is the case with other organs and functions of the body; and because we find, from observation, that this office is more or less CHRIST. OBSERV. No. 327.

perfectly performed, according to varying circumstances of original character, and physiological manifestation, as well as according to the phenomena of health or disposition. Now, as such, the brain will require a due and regular supply of fine and healthy blood, exactly in proportion to the extent and importance of its agency in the animal economy; and its functions will be feebly and irritably carried on if that supply be defective in quantity, or less highly animalized than in its most perfect state. On the contrary, it will be oppressed, if the supply should exceed the demand for ordinary expenditure: and it will be variously irritated and disturbed, if that blood shall not have undergone its proper purifying change; and, more espe cially, if it shall have been charged with any noxious qualities; according to the extent of its deterioration, the intensity of the consequent morbid impression, and the disordered changes with which it is associated.

But, since the brain also forms the centre of nervous sympathy, it is intimately connected with many other viscera, whose functions cannot be carried on without the assistance derived from this organ, and whose infinitely varied disturbances are all propagated by a reflex action to this common centre. Thus, disorder of stomach will interfere with the integrity of brainular action; T

and head-ache, languor, and an inaptitude for mental exertion, are the consequence. This state continuing a certain length of time, or being frequently repeated, will, in a constitution so predisposed, give rise to hypochondriasis; and in a still more aggravated form of impression, this hypochondriasis may be exchanged for deeper mental aberration: and thus the due functions of the brain will be suspended-perhaps irrecoverably destroyed-by the reflex action of disorder, whose first point of irritation was in the stomach. Again the skin is an important organ; and a simple morbid impression made upon it, will sometimes occasion a degree of cerebral disturbance. Even in common catarrh, the earliest symptoms will very generally be that of unwonted drowsiness and oppression: these will be followed by chills, and a certain wandering of intellectual manifestation, which indicates that the brain is not under the usual controul of the will; and when the subsequent re-action has occurred, it will be accompanied by pain in the head, excited susceptibility of sensorial impression, and general disposition to over-action. When this first impression may have been more intense, particularly if it shall have resulted from the invasion of fever of a specific character, the cerebral disturbance will be more distinctly characterized; and the deviations from correct, congruous, coherent, and consecutive thought, will be more apparent. This is so manifestly the case, that some authors have placed the seat of fever exclusively in the brain, because that organ always suffers more or less; forgetting, that, although it has to bear its own peculiar burdens, it is also called upon to sympathize when any other organ of the body is affected with morbid irritation; thus proving, that it is eminently the organ which is most under the influence of physical disturbance.

Again: every person may have remarked the unwonted irritability

which attaches to convalescents. And be it remarked, that it is unwonted: they who have borne long, submissively, and patiently with great suffering, become impatient and irritable as soon as they begin to recover; and this, not from a feeling of having exhausted a longtried stock of patience, but from a peculiar state of the brain, which it requires a great mental effort to controul. Every person who has experienced this return from sickness to health, knows this to be the fact: and it is manifest in children, who would not be subjected to these effects if they arose from an exhaustion of the influence of patience and submission, as moral motives; but who do equally experience this irritability, which takes its origin from a purely physical condition, and which observers actually hail as the harbinger of returning health, because, even to the observation of those who reason not upon its causes, this indication has been associated by experience with the setting in of a new train of healthy actions. Nor let the sincere Christian be fearful of avowing his belief in the physical origin of a state which he so much deplores: let him, indeed, be cautious of making this an excuse for peevishness and restlessness; let him beware of crying Peace, where there can be no real peace,—that is, if this temper of mind be not combated: and while, on the one hand, he ought not to adopt that harsh and unjust judgment which would produce a doubt of his interest in his Saviour's atonement, because of the existence which he mourns over of feelings thus opposed to the meekness and patience of that Saviour's example; let him, on the other, deplore this state, though a physical condition, as an evidence of that debasing influence of sin which has been exerted upon the manifestations of mind, and upon the organ through which they are made. Let him consider this painful struggle as a portion of the trial of his faith and patience,

and as perhaps rendered peculiarly pression. A similar effect will be necessary at a period when the produced by the excitement of sooverwhelming gratitude of recovery ciety, or by emotion of any kind of renders the mind peculiarly liable an intense character; thus shewing to be less watchful than usual, and that the brain, as a material organ, to those oscillations of feeling which is similarly acted upon both by take place rapidly, and often imper- causes from within, and by those ceptibly, under the influence of which attach more particularly to powerful emotion. Let him become exterior nature; by mental exertion, guarded in his joy, and remember and by physical influence. On the to "watch unto prayer." Let him other hand, too much sleep produces recollect that he is called upon to an effect of a different kind: the grapple with this physical condition, patient rises with a dull obtuse and by a powerful mental effort, headache; he feels that his percep、 made in dependance upon the as- tions are obscured, that he is stupid, sistance of the Holy Spirit the that he wants his usual activity of Sanctifier, to keep his heart with all body and mind, that his spirits are diligence, to preserve it stayed upon oppressed, and that he misses his his God, to cultivate a devotional customary cheerfulness. Now the spirit, and to shew forth the glory difference of these two conditions of the Saviour by more closely imi- consists in this: in the former case, tating his example. There is, then, there is increased action of the no plea for indolence, no excuse for arteries of the brain, and the indisupineness: the existence of feeble- vidual is conscious of the change; ness calls upon him for the display of in the latter, there is a sluggish energy, and invites him to seek for congealed state of the veins; thus strength where alone it can be found. proving, that, according to these Again: the effect of some articles varying physical states, the maniof food or medicine will confirm my festations of mind are different, principal position. A certain mo. and even opposite, and that the derate quantity of wine will render organ is a material one-mainly the individual more cheerful, give influenced by physical causes. brilliancy to his ideas, and stimulate enough has been said for my prethe organ of thought to more intense sent purpose: the several forms of exertion. A larger dose of the same cerebral delusion and morbid action fluid will make one individual out- will be noticed hereafter. rageously joyous and noisy, while another will become stupid and melancholic, according to his peculiar temperament; and a still larger quantity will abolish consciousness from both alike: and absolute intoxication will destroy all traces of the rational creature. The influence of several medicines will be present. ly noticed among the morbid trains of cerebral impression: it is here only necessary to state, that they are varied and extensive.

Once more: bodily fatigue will induce a degree of cerebral irritability, which, in ordinary cases, will prevent the usual approach of sleep, and give rise to such a susceptibility of the nervous system, that it will be prepared for any morbid im

But

II. This material organ, thus influenced by physical causes, is the organ of mind, and will charac terize-not, indeed, its essence, its real character, but its manifestations, by its operation upon the ideas conveyed to the immaterial spirit from without, as well as upon those produced by its unaided and spontaneous action from within. Man possesses an internal consciousness that the brain is the organ through which he thinks, reasons, remembers, imagines, distinguishes, and performs other mental operations : and this consciousness is as positive as would be that of the hand being the organ of prehension to a blind person, who sought after an acquaintance with the properties of matter

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